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Don’t Drive Drowsy! Tips for Staying Awake Behind the Wheel

Top Colorado personal injury attorney Mack Babcock shares more safe driving advice for avoiding a car crash

According to the National Sleep Foundation, two-thirds of Americans experience some form of sleep problem a couple of nights per week or more. Forty-three percent of people claim to be sleepy so often that throughout the day, they are unable to function properly or stay fully awake while driving. 

The NHTSA estimates that fatigue plays a major factor in approximately 100,000 automobile accidents per year resulting in 71,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths.

We often worry about drunk drivers on the roads, but we should be equally concerned with the amount of drowsy drivers who may be weaving and swerving up and down the Colorado highways and mountain roads.

Warning signs of drowsiness:

  • Constant yawning
  • Being unable to remember why you are driving or where you are going
  • Being unable to keep your eyes open
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Drifting into the other lane
  • Running off the road
  • Going through a red light and not remembering
  • Being unable to remember driving the past several miles

Who is most likely to drive drowsy?

  • Commercial truck drivers
  • Shift workers
  • Those who take medications to help them sleep
  • Those who suffer from untreated sleep disorders
  • Young people ages 18-29

What happens when I drive drowsy?

  • Your judgment is impaired.
  • Your reaction time decreases.
  • Your awareness decreases.

10 Tips for Remaining Alert Behind the Wheel:

  • Get the proper amount of sleep. When you have to drive, especially a long distance, make sure you are properly rested. 
  • Drink caffeine. Caffeinated beverages are a quick fix; however, caffeine wears off quickly, so don’t rely on it to keep you awake.
  • Eat a snack. Staying active while you drive by doing something simple like eating or drinking can be helpful as long as it doesn’t distract you from the wheel.
  • Don’t get too comfortable. It’s easy to become so relaxed that you can’t keep your eyes open, so don’t allow yourself to get too warm or cozy. Turn up the A/C to help you to stay awake.
  • Avoid relaxing music. Slow or soothing music is likely to put you to sleep. Turn on upbeat music and crank the volume to keep yourself from nodding off behind the wheel.
  • Roll down the windows. The fresh air will keep you alert.
  • Scream. Sometimes yelling can help wake you up!
  • Talk to passengers in the car. Let them know you are tired and need their help to keep you awake.
  • Turn on an interior light if you are driving at night. The darker it is, the harder it is to keep your eyes open.
  • Always avoid alcohol and don’t take medications that make you drowsy.

When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, take all necessary precautions in order to be a responsible driver. This not only includes avoiding the wheel if you’ve been drinking but also if you are drowsy. Developing good sleeping habits is the best place to start. However, getting tired behind the wheel can happen to anyone. Keep the above suggestions in mind and do all you can to stay alert.

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a drowsy, drunk or distracted driver, Colorado’s experienced auto accident attorney Mack Babcock can help. Call for a free consultation.

Further reading:

**NOTE – this article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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