Fatigued drivers are dangerous drivers. Drivers who are very tired have the same response rates as intoxicated drivers who cause drunk driving accidents. It is the responsibility of all driver to ensure that they are well-rested and alert. Simply drinking coffee will not help. Drivers need to be proactive in preventing accidents caused by fatigued driving.
Long trips are dangerous for driver fatigue, as they require long hours as well as many hours of concentrating on the road. To prevent fatigue on long trips, drivers need to plan ahead. Drivers need to allow themselves plenty of time to arrive at their destination. Drivers should also plan their breaks before they leave the house. Using the Internet, drivers should make a plan to stop at least every two hours and should locate rest stops on their route at which to take breaks. Planning breaks is as important as planning your trip, as it ensures that you will get regular breaks.
If you are going on a very long, overnight trip, you will need to do additional planning. Book a hotel or motel room so that you can get a good night’s rest. At the very least, identify motels where you might stay and determine check-in times. You will want to stop at a hotel or motel while you can still check in. For a very long trip, try to get a second driver if at all possible. An alternative driver will allow you to take more frequent breaks, which can prevent highway hypnosis and the fatigue caused simply by concentrating on driving for hours at a time. As well, traveling with a companion is simply more fun.
Another way drivers can prevent fatigued driving accidents is to simply change their own attitudes. Most drivers get into car accidents or caused fatigue-related pedestrian accidents because they simply do not stop driving when they become tired. They press on, believing that they can make it to their destination or the next rest stop. Unfortunately, this belief often leads to accidents. The best thing that drivers can do is notice signs of fatigue and pull over for a rest as soon as they notice these signs.
Trips in the early morning and late at night are especially risky. Since most people sleep during the late night and early morning, drivers are more likely to be fatigued and sleepy at these times, even with a nap or a sleep. Try to avoid driving late at night and early in the morning. If you do need to drive at these times, give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Also, avoid smoking, since it can affect night vision.
There are many environmental and secondary factors which can help prevent driver fatigue. For example, what you eat and drink before driving can affect your fatigue levels. Heavy, fatty, and sugary foods can make you feel more tired, which is why it is better to drink plenty of water and healthy meals before driving. Also, alcohol should be avoided entirely before driving. Even if you stay below the blood alcohol limit, even one drink of alcohol can make you sleepy and can make you a danger on the road. Another tip for drivers is to create alertness through environment. Using your air conditioner and bringing your seat to an upright position can help you stay more alert.