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How To Make Sure You Don't Drive Drowsy

Driving Drowsy: A Serious Matter

If you think that driving while you're tired is okay, think again. Drowsy driving can impair your skills and lead to tragic consequences: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving accounts for an average of 56,000 car crashes per year, resulting in 1,550 deaths and 40,000 nonfatal injuries.

Signs you're a drowsy driver

The primary cause of drowsy driving is inappropriate rest. This is often due to lack of sleep but can also be due to medical disorders or the consumption of medicine or alcohol. Signs that you are drowsy while driving include:

  • You find yourself drifting in and out of lanes
  • You have difficulty keeping your eyelids open
  • You need to concentrate extra hard in order to focus
  • You yawn and blink frequently
  • You have trouble keeping your head up

If you find yourself falling asleep at the wheel, it's a good idea to pull over. Take some time to rest or switch off with another driver.

Tips for safe driving

Get enough sleep.

The best way to make sure your mind and body are in optimal driving shape is to plan ahead and get plenty of sleep before your drive. Most adult drivers require at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

Here are some good sleep habits to follow:

  • Be consistent with your sleep schedule. Keep your body's internal clock consistent by going to sleep and waking up at the same times each night and day. This includes weekends and days off.
  • Keep your room dark and quiet. A completely dark room will help you fall and stay asleep better. Consider wearing a night mask or even purchasing "black out" (light-blocking) window blinds. But also make sure to get that regular dose of Vitamin D, either by getting a little sunshine or trying out light therapy.
  • Love your mattress. Make sure your mattress accommodates your brand of sleeping; research the different types of bedding and sleep support available and choose the options that suit your particular sleep style.
  • Reserve your bed for sleeping only. Do not work, watch TV, or use your computer in bed. Otherwise, your brain will associate the bedroom with activities, thoughts and, even, anxieties - all hampering your ability to sleep.

Other methods.

In addition to practicing good sleep habits, here are other good methods for avoiding drowsy driving:

  • Set your car to your style. Keep your car primed for just the right driving atmosphere: that means adjusting the temperature, mirrors, seating incline that best suit your needs for staying alert.
  • Watch what you eat and drink. Drink water and eat high-protein foods rather than heavier meals. Likewise, stay away from alcohol, a known depressant. Consider taking a "coffee nap" for even better results. Keep in mind that the boost you get from caffeine will wear off after several hours, so do not rely on it as a replacement for true sleep.
  • Drive with a partner. For long trips, it's best if you follow the "buddy system." Pull over every two hours and switch drivers; while your partner drives, you can take a nap.
  • Don't rush. Better to arrive at your destination safe than on time.

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Law Office of Richard J. Presutti, P.C.

Law Office of Richard J. Presutti, P.C.
525 North Sam Houston Parkway
Suite 600
Houston, Texas 77060

Phone: 281-810-9509
Fax: 281-260-6842
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