If you have experienced drowsiness while driving, you are among the many motorists who say they have felt sleepy at times or have fallen asleep at the wheel. Those moments when your eyes begin to drift closed or your head starts to nod can creep up on you, but you should pay attention to the warning signs. When drowsiness overtakes you while driving, you can become a danger to yourself and to others.
Blinking and nodding are not the only signals you should heed. If you begin to daydream, or if you cannot account for the last few miles you traveled, you may be succumbing to fatigue. Other red flags include yawning repeatedly, feeling irritable and having trouble focusing. If you begin to tailgate, drift between lanes or find yourself driving over a rumble strip, you are not alert enough to continue driving.
Common accident factors revealed
Research is being carried out about the causes of drowsy driving and how frequently this problem figures into crashes. Although studies are far from complete, the information gathered thus far shows that many drowsy driving accidents involve only one vehicle. Usually, the driver is the only person in the car, which careens off the road at a high speed. There is no evidence of braking. This type of accident also happens most frequently on rural roads and highways.
Preparing for a road trip
Getting sufficient sleep is the best way for a motorist to prepare for a day of driving. Adults should get between seven and eight hours to be alert behind the wheel. Teenagers often do not get enough sleep that's in tune with their biological needs, so this is something to watch out for. You should also avoid driving during the peak periods for drowsiness: in the late afternoon and from midnight to six in the morning. In addition, do not drink alcohol before driving and, if possible, do not take any medications that might make you feel drowsy.
How to handle the onset of drowsiness
If you begin to experience any of the warning signs of drowsiness, the obvious solution is to stop driving. During a long road trip, pull in at rest stops along the way to get out of the car, stretch your legs or even take a short nap. In fact, even if you feel wide awake, stopping every two hours for a short rest is a good idea. Having a cup of coffee or a caffeinated soda may make you feel more alert, but remember that the effects do not last long.
Support when you need it most
Researchers continue to use various methods to learn more about the crashes caused by drowsy drivers, but dealing with the aftermath falls to other experts. If you have the misfortune to be involved in a crash that resulted in personal injury, be assured that experienced attorneys are standing by to help you.