Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Thursday, 09 March 2017

Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving

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Drowsiness is a major contributing factor resulting in injury and fatality in motor vehicle accidents according to recent studies. Drowsy driving can be caused by the impairment of intoxicated drivers, but can also be a problem for those drivers that are simply tired and sleepy.

Studies show that collisions involving drowsy drivers occur most frequently during the late night and early morning hours, or late afternoon when drivers have that mid-afternoon slump. Shift workers, those with sleep disorders, and commercial vehicle drivers tend to be at a greater risk for this type of accident as well. Drowsy drivers have a slower reaction time and are generally less alert.

Shocking statistics

While most people wouldn’t consider getting behind the wheel after having a few alcoholic drinks, most of us would think nothing of hitting the road while sleepy. Twenty percent of Canadians admit to falling asleep behind the wheel according to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. Estimates show that fatigue is a factor in 23 percent of injury accidents and 19 percent of fatality collisions.

Signs that you may be at risk for drowsy driving include: difficulty keeping your eyes open, head droops forward, your mind wanders and you can’t seem to concentrate, frequent yawning, can’t remember details about where you have recently travelled, you’re missing traffic signals, you allow your vehicle to drift into the opposite lane, or you have drifted off the edge of the road.

Time to take a break

If you have even one of these symptoms, you likely need a break from the road. You should pull off the road and park your vehicle in a safe place, lock your doors, keep your windows rolled up, and take a nap. Don’t plan on using stimulants, such as caffeine, to keep you alert. Those wear off quickly. Turning up your radio and opening the windows while driving will only trick your body for so long. You need to rest.

All-important questions to ask yourself

Before embarking on a trip ask yourself these questions to determine if it is safe for you to drive. Have you been awake for more than 17 hours? People who have been awake for at least 17 hours are more likely to become drowsy. Have you had at least six hours of sleep in the past 24 hours? If not, you are at risk of an accident. Do you do your driving between midnight and 6 a.m.? These are the most dangerous hours for drivers to fall asleep. Are you drowsy when you drive or work at night? Night shift workers are more likely to become drowsy while driving home after a shift.

To avoid becoming a drowsy driver, only drive when rested. Never drive if you feel fatigued or sleepy. Keep your mind alert by listening to upbeat music, chewing gum, and changing positions frequently. Keep your eyes on traffic and road signals. If embarking on a long trip plan to take multiple breaks to exercise and get some fresh air. Be cautious of the things you drink and eat as some things can cause a sugar or caffeine crash. Lastly, drive defensively and be prepared to prevent a collision at all times.

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