Sometimes, you might have to take an extra-long drive or go on a journey that takes you through the night. Whether for work, pleasure, or an emergency, driving at night or for a long time is tiring. Driving takes a lot of concentration, so driving tired can be a dangerous situation.
The issue is, many people aren’t aware of the risks of driving tired. You always think it will never happen to you, that you’ll never nod off behind the wheel. But, then it does. No one is immune from tiredness! Let’s take a deeper look at sleepy driving, its dangers, and how to avoid it.
The Dangers Of Drowsy Driving
It may seem obvious, but the dangers of driving tired are huge. There are a tragically high amount of accidents involving tired, drowsy, or sleepy drivers. If you look at the stats from the legal team over at https://the702firm.com/car-accident-lawyer/drowsy-driving/, you’ll see that “an estimated 91,000 car accidents in a single year were caused by drowsy driving. Those collisions resulted in nearly 800 deaths and 40,000 injuries.” This number is huge and totally avoidable. Driving tired could quite frankly result in death, be it yours or an innocent bystander’s.
If you do cause an accident by falling asleep behind the wheel, you’re likely to be punished for it. Depending on where you live, the laws vary on responsibility, but you will almost certainly be sued if you cause someone else serious harm by driving tired. A specialized legal team will work hard to subpoena evidence to prove that you were overtired, awake for a long period, or had been driving a long time without breaks. If they can prove your negligence, you could find yourself in serious legal trouble.
Below you will find some tips on how to avoid this horrible situation and its legal ramifications…
Consider Your Options
As mentioned, people often opt to drive late into the night in the case of a family emergency or urgent work deadline. However, it’s not always necessarily the best option. Simply put, the easiest way to avoid tired driving is to avoid driving altogether! If you can, take a train, taxi, plane, or simply wait until after you’ve had some sleep. If you’re rushing to reach someone, the last thing you want is to fall tired at the wheel and have an accident.
Simple enough – everyone knows that alcohol impairs their cognitive abilities, slows reaction times, and clouds judgment. However, thousands of Americans choose to drive home from the bar every weekend. “It’s just one or two drinks,” they say, casually. It is never safe to drive after drinking. Compound that with the fact it’s probably a late night, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Don’t Drive Alone
When driving long distances or through the night, being alone can lead to extreme drowsiness. People often try opening the windows or playing the radio loud to try and keep themselves awake, but nothing works quite as well as having someone with you. This person can keep you engaged and entertained simply by being there. Think of them as your spotter; as a weightlifter in a gym needs a spotter to keep them safe, so does a driver performing a marathon drive through the night.
Yes, caffeine! Coffee is popular for a reason, it keeps people going! If you are sensitive to caffeine, this may not be the tip for you. But, for those of you who can enjoy a hot coffee, have a strong one during the first couple of hours of your drive. The caffeine should help you out for three to four hours.
Take Regular Breaks
Finally, one of the most important pieces of advice for drivers, tired or not, is to take regular breaks. Most experts recommend a 15-30 minute break every two hours. This may seem like a lot, but getting out of the car, getting fresh air, and awakening your senses can be really good for tiredness. This is also the perfect time to grab another coffee from a gas station, should you feel the need for one! Take breaks, rest for a long period if needed, and get to your destination safely.
Following these simple instructions could be the difference between a safe, comfortable journey or a journey that ends in total disaster. Don’t take the risk, only drive when you are feeling awake enough and confident of your safety. In emergencies, caffeine up and take a friend to keep you in check.