Drowsydriving.org, a division of the National Sleep Foundation, recently conducted a poll that found that 60 percent of adult drivers admit to driving while feeling drowsy. More than a third of those respondents admitted that they had actually fallen asleep at the wheel.
Driver fatigue is a leading cause of traffic accidents. If you’re feeling tired while at the wheel, the best choice is to pull over, but if that isn’t an option, there are several things you can do to keep yourself awake until you can stop and rest.
- Eat or drink something caffeinated. This is easily the most common stay-awake strategy. Be sure to pair them with lots of water and use as little as possible to keep yourself awake.
- Talk to someone. Whether it’s a passenger in the car or someone you’re speaking with over the phone using a hands free mobile device, conversation can help augment drowsiness.
- Keep high-protein snacks on hand. Ingesting protein when tired can offer an energy boost and help a driver keep focused on the road.
- Engage with audio material. LIsten to talk radio instead of music, or travel with books on tape. Focusing on interesting material can help you fight drowsiness.
Unlike driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are no tests to determine driver fatigue, and every state addresses this issue differently in its traffic laws. In Georgia, commercial truck drivers are subject to hours-of-service and drivers’ log rules designed to help ensure that they are not driving while fatigued, but the rules for other motorists are much less clear. Regardless of the consequences, driving when fatigued is dangerous both for the sleepy driver and for other motorists on the road.
If you’ve been injured in a traffic accident caused by driver fatigue, contact the law offices of David Van Sant, a Georgia personal injury attorney who may be able to help you.