We’ve already spoken of how commercial truckers drive while tired, and the extreme danger they pose to other motorists. But the truth is, we’re all at risk if we get behind the wheel too tired to drive or if we get overtaken by drowsiness on the road.
According to the 2015 South Carolina Commercial Driver’s License Manual, a sleep-deprived or fatigued driver—defined as having six hours of sleep or less—triples the risk of a potentially deadly car crash. Working over 60 hours a week increases your risk by 40 percent.
Today, we’re going to review some tips to combat driver fatigue, according to the manual.
Preventing Fatigued Driving For All Drivers
It starts before you even start the vehicle, and stops when you pull into your destination safely:
- Sleep. We need eight to nine hours a night to keep alert.
- Map your route, especially if it’s long, to find stopping points to rest.
- Drive during the day when you’re most awake, not in the middle of the night. Many trucking accidents occur between midnight and 6 A.M.
- Exercise. It gives you more energy.
- Don’t drive if you’re taking medication that makes you drowsy.
Staying Alert While Driving
The manual gives some great tips we often don’t think of:
- In the day, wear sunglasses to keep strain off your eyes.
- Stay cool using the AC or an opened window.
- Lay off the Thickburger. Heavy foods make you sleepy.
- Take a passenger to help you drive.
- Take a break about every 100 miles or every two hours.
- Do not rely on caffeine. It wears off, which could leave you even more tired than when you started.
Warning Signs of Fatigue
If you notice any of these, IT’S TIME TO PULL OVER:
- Difficulty focusing, disconnected thoughts, or daydreaming.
- Missing exits or other traffic signs.
- Trouble remembering the last few miles.
- Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road.
- Restlessness or irritability.
What To Do When You’re Fatigued
STOP AS SOON AS IT’S SAFE! You’re not being a hero by pushing through fatigue; instead, you are a major cause of fatal crashes. Stop, change drivers, take a nap, or just call it a day. You could save someone’s life—maybe even your own.
Fatigued driving is just as dangerous as its notorious cousin, distracted driving. Our firm helps victims injured by drivers who aren’t focusing on the road, for whatever the reason. Feel free to start a live chat right where you are to tell us your story. Let’s see what we can do to help.