How to Prevent Driving Fatigue

Driving Fatigue

Driving Fatigue

Driving fatigue can ruin your life. Nearly 700 Americans died from drowsy driving-related crashes in 2019. Thousands of others were injured in car and truck accidents, forcing them to take time off of work. 

These numbers are high because it is not uncommon to become fatigued on the road. However, it is not difficult to keep energy levels up. You just need to know a few strategies to stay focused on your driving. Here are some times for preventing fatigue while on the road.


Get Plenty of Sleep and Take Breaks

You should never drive while you are drowsy or sleep-deprived. The night before a road trip or long drive, you should get at least eight hours of continuous sleep. If you feel tired while you are driving, you should pull over and take a nap. Even a 15-minute rest can reduce your fatigue and help you remain focused on the road. If possible, take a nap before getting on the road, or find a rest area to nap. 

After being on the road for a long period of time, it’s recommended to park and stretch your legs. In fact, getting fresh air can help wake you up and provide your brain with fresh oxygen. Even if you feel okay, you should stop every two hours and take a break. Driving fatigue is more likely to occur during long drives and if breaks are not being taken.


Eat Full Meals

preventing driver fatigue with coffee

Balanced meals can give you the nutrients you need to stay focused. Try eating foods that contain whole grains and natural carbohydrates. Your body uses natural carbohydrates for long-term energy, unlike refined carbohydrates, which your body uses quickly. 

Brown rice and oatmeal provide grains containing vitamins, as well as carbohydrates that your body can use for fuel. Whole wheat bread can also work, but there are more ideal options. Some people have a gluten intolerance, which makes them fatigued when experiencing a reaction. 

Also, drink lots of water with your meals, as water is very energizing. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages are okay to drink, but some can be very dehydrating. Dehydration can make people feel tired. Be sure to drink them alongside full meals, and do not use them to replace food.


Avoid Intoxicants

One reason why alcohol causes so many car accidents is that it is a depressant. While alcohol consumption alters the senses and causes delayed reactions, it can also cause the nervous system to slow down, leading to driver fatigue and inattentiveness. When this happens, drivers fall asleep while on the road. Therefore, never consume alcohol before or while you are driving. 

Most people are aware of the harmful effects of drunk driving. However, some may not be as familiar with how their bodies will respond to some prescribed medications. There are a variety of prescriptions that cause drowsiness as a side effect. That is why you should always be careful when taking antidepressants, opioids, and even some allergy medicines, as they can act as depressants.

If you are prescribed a new medication by a doctor, confirm what the side effects are and ask for instructions on how the drugs should and should not be taken. If the product is over-the-counter, ask the pharmacist for help and recommendations. 


Do Not Drive at Night

driving at night

It is okay to drive very short distances at night. But you should try avoiding long road trips when it’s dark. Due to our body’s sleep patterns, the darkness can send signals to the brain that it’s time to sleep, triggering driver fatigue. 

If you must drive at night, plan your route in advance so you can reach your destination more quickly. 

Some are surprised to learn that driver fatigue could be experienced just from looking forward at the road for a period of time. Making the effort to shift focus on your surroundings by checking for blind spots or by looking for other approaching vehicles with your rearview mirrors can prevent fatigue. 

Additionally, it’s a good way to remain cautious on the road and watch for traffic or reckless drivers. Before you hit the road, line your mirrors up so they are aligned properly with your seating position and viewpoint. Adjusting mirrors while driving is dangerous, so ensure this is completed while you’re still parked. Check your mirrors regularly, but also be sure to not lose focus on the road. 


Prevent Driving Fatigue

Just one instance of driving fatigue can cause a car accident. You must get plenty of sleep before you hit the road, and you should take regular breaks. 

While you are driving, you should move your eyes around so you don’t become bored. Eat whole grains and feel free to have a little caffeine. However, you should never drive under the influence of alcohol or pills, and you should avoid driving at night.

Taking these precautions will help prevent driver fatigue. If you were involved in a car accident with another driver that you suspect may not have been as cautious and was driving recklessly, contact Alpha Accident Lawyers for a free consultation. 


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