Driving in a drowsy condition is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents. In 2017, the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated around 91,000 vehicular accidents and approximately 800 fatalities that are related to drowsy driving. Most of these accidents, based on the data, involve drivers that don’t have a sufficient sleep.
While it is true that having enough rest every night can reduce the chances of these collisions, it is still not sufficient to ensure that you can prevent these collisions. As a driver, you have to educate yourself regarding the signs of drowsy driving. If you are aware of the symptoms, you can take measures to avoid them.
Of course, abstinence from alcohol, sleep-inducing pills, and pain killers is an efficient method to avoid drowsiness while driving. If you are using any of these substances, make sure that you don’t take them before hitting the road.
Meanwhile, the following tips can help you combat drowsiness while you are driving.
Tips To Reduce Drowsiness While Driving
Have Enough Sleep
Adults between ages 18 to 64 should have a sleeping time of seven hours to nine hours per day. Meanwhile, older individuals may not need to sleep that extensively, but they still have to sleep adequately. Those individuals who reject this advice are often prone to accidents related to drowsy driving.
Teenagers who are legally allowed to drive should sleep around eight hours to ten hours per day. However, most teenagers don’t have this kind of sleeping time simply because they are too occupied with their personal dealings, or they simply don’t prefer to sleep long. It is important that they should be educated regarding this matter to avoid future accidents.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
The combination of alcohol and driving never leads to wonderful results. Often, they lead to tragedies, loss of lives, and damage to properties. It is not only harmful on your part, but it is also dangerous for your passengers and other drivers on the road. Keep in mind that even the legal dose of alcohol can still cause drowsiness. So it really pays that you abstain from driving if you are planning to drink.
Of course, alcohol is not the only thing that you need to be wary of here. You should also avoid over-the-counter medications, especially anti-allergy drugs. One of their side-effects is making you feel drowsy. It is difficult to combat the sleepiness that these pills can induce. If you are planning to take these medications, only do so after you drive. Or, if not, just don’t drive at all.
Drive Only During Peak Periods
If you don’t want to drive while feeling drowsy, it is better that you choose the time you drive. As per recommendation, you should avoid driving late afternoon. You should not also drive around 12 AM to 6 AM. Accordingly, these are the hours where most drowsiness-related collisions and crashes occur.
If there’s an emergency and you need to drive during the wee hours of the night, you have to make yourself as vigilant as possible. Induce as many cups of coffee in your system so that you can feel awake and alert. Always be mindful of the warning signs, and never drive too quickly. Be watchful for other drivers, too. Some of them are drunk and drowsy.
Don’t Drive Alone
One effective way to combat sleepiness is by resting. But you can’t do this if you are driving, right? If that’s the case, why not just bring a back-up driver with you. Most long-distance commercial truck drivers have back-up drivers that switch with them when they feel sleepy. It is a sound and efficient method to get rest without even stopping the journey.
Having someone to talk to while driving can help ease the drowsiness. It distracts you from the soothing and sedating experience that driving can give, especially during the night.
Correct Your Posture
If you slouch too much, then there’s a good chance that you will feel sleepy while driving. This is because our bodies are conditioned to relax once they are in a comfortable position. When you are inclining your seat opposite to the steering wheel, drowsiness will soon follow. Hence, if you want to eliminate this possibility, you simply have to correct your posture. All straighten your back, and don’t remove your eyes on the road.