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Practical Tips To Prevent Drowsy Driving

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Driving while drowsy is extremely dangerous. Though it is often hard to specifically pinpoint whether a person involved in a car accident was driving while drowsy, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving has led to about 697 deaths in 2019. The following article will provide some helpful tips to avoid drowsy driving.

What are some causes of drowsy driving?

There are multiple factors that can result in drowsy driving. Some of these include:

  1. Sleep disorders: Some people suffer from either diagnosed or undiagnosed sleep disorders which may cause them to become drowsy during the day because their sleep at night is restricted or disrupted
  2. Sleep deprivation: Several factors can contribute to a person being sleep-deprived, such as stress, a new baby, working late hours, etc.
  3. Medications: Some medications may specifically have ingredients in them which cause drowsiness
  4. Alcohol: Alcohol contributes to drowsiness and as such, it is especially dangerous to drink alcohol before or while driving
  5. Time of day: There are certain times of the day (midnight to 6:00AM and mid-afternoon) where our bodies may experience intense feelings of drowsiness

How can I avoid drowsy driving?

Drowsy driving is preventable if you take the necessary steps before entering your vehicle. The following tips will provide you with practical ways to prevent drowsy driving.

  1. Get some sleep! It may seem like common sense, but many of us don’t realize that we’re not getting enough sleep. If you are sleep-deprived, you are more likely to drive drowsy and end up getting into an accident. You should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to ensure that you are well-rested before you drive.
  2. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. As a central nervous system depressant, the effects of alcohol may lead to drowsiness and reduce your reaction time. Since safe driving requires the ability to concentrate, make good judgements, and quickly react to situation, it is extremely dangerous to drink and drive. If you have been drinking alcohol, consider getting a Lyft or Uber instead of getting behind the wheel.
  3. Make sure that you thoroughly read your medications. Many medications contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. In fact, most medications that cause drowsiness specifically advise against driving immediately after taking them. Prior to getting on the road while driving, it is important to know the effects of medications you take to avoid potential drowsy driving.
  4. If you are driving drowsy, safely pull over and take a break. Sometimes you just can’t help driving drowsy, but if you start to notice that you are swerving or that your vision is getting blurry, it may be good for you to pull over on the side of the road or a nearby rest stop to take a quick break before continuing on your journey. If you are absolutely unable to stop, it could also be helpful to roll down your windows to get some fresh air or to turn on loud music to keep you awake. However, if you feel like you are falling asleep, pulling over is your best option. It is a much better thing to be late than to injure yourself or others by falling asleep at the wheel.

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Resource:

nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drowsy-driving

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