Driver fatigue is a serious problem resulting in many thousands of road accidents each year. Today’s fast-paced, 24-hour world with social media addictions and technology distraction all lead to sleep deprivation which, in turn, affects our performance on the road. Research shows that driver fatigue may be a factor in up to 20% of road accidents, and up to 25% of fatal and serious accidents.
More scary statistics: crashes caused by driver fatigue are nearly 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury as they tend to be high speed impacts. When you are asleep at the wheel you don’t see the accident coming and therefore don’t brake, slow down, or try to avoid it.
Luckily, nodding off at the wheel is easy to avoid, especially by taking note of the following tips:
1. Avoid the “danger hours:” Did you know that most crashes caused by tired drivers occur between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.?
2. Afternoon isn’t so great either: Mid-afternoon is good for siestas for the kiddies, but not so good for drivers, with statistics showing the hours between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. coming in a close second for tired driver accidents – especially after eating a carb-heavy lunch or having just one little glass of wine.
3. Know if you fall in the at-risk category: Studies have found that young male drivers between the ages of 19-29, truck drivers, company car drivers, and shift workers are most at risk of falling asleep while driving.
4. Go old-school: When you find yourself nodding off, the best thing to do is to pull off the road and take a “cat nap” or arrange for alternate transportation to your destination. Drinking a caffeinated beverage with enough caffeine equivalents to 2 cups of coffee should also help keep you alert for a short period of time (less than an hour).
5. Just say no: This should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Avoid alcohol and read carefully the warning labels on medications. Just one glass of wine or one swig of cough syrup is enough to lower your focus.
Read more blog posts about driver fatigue.
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