According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 vehicle accidents are a result of driver fatigue annually. These accidents result in an average of 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.
No one ever predicts they’re going to get in an accident. But, no matter how far away your destination is, driving while tired will drastically increase your odds. To protect yourself and others on the road, there are a few things you can do to prevent falling asleep while driving.
Keep reading to discover simple tips to help you avoid falling asleep at the wheel.
- Use the Buddy System
One of the easiest ways how to avoid falling asleep at the wheel is to use the buddy system. Having a friend nearby decreases the odds of falling asleep and ending up in an accident.
The best way to use the buddy system is to have a friend physically there. They can help you with staying awake while driving by talking to you. And, if you do start to drift, they will see that and wake you up and take over driving.
If you don’t have someone physically driving with you, give them a call. Explain the situation and tell them that you’d like to talk to help you stay awake.
Taking this little step can help you avoid being in an accident with a drowsy driver. But, there are more effective steps you can take if you’re feeling extremely tired.
- Enlist the Help of Another Driver
If you’ve noticed that you’re tired enough to experience driving fatigue, you need to avoid getting behind the wheel.
Ask someone you’re with if they’d be willing to give you a ride home. If you’re alone, call a friend or family member who lives nearby and ask if they can pick you up. Odds are, they’d be willing to go out of their way to ensure you get home safely.
If you’re alone in an unfamiliar location, get out your phone and use a rideshare app. The few dollars the ride will cost is minimal when compared to your safety.
- Pull Over and Nap
When it comes to preventing highway fatigue, the situation becomes more serious. Long road trips are hard and it can become easy to get tired after hours of driving.
The key to avoiding highway fatigue is to monitor your situation. If you feel yourself getting tired, you need to get off the highway. Either get a hotel room for a full night’s rest or stop at a rest stop for a short nap.
The Sleep Foundation recommends a 20-minute nap followed by some caffeine before getting back on the road.
Falling Asleep at the Wheel Can Be Fatal
If you find yourself starting to fall asleep at the wheel, take one of these steps immediately. Drowsiness isn’t something to be taken lightly when you’re driving. Driving while tired can easily cause an accident or even cost you your life.
Instead, try talking to a friend, either in person or on the phone, to help you stay awake or alert. If possible, ask someone else to drive or use a rideshare company to get to your destination. And if you feel drowsy on a longer drive, don’t hesitate to pull over and take a quick nap.
If you do find yourself in a drowsy driving accident, you’ll need legal help. Browse the Law section of this site for all the best advice.