Ways to Prevent Falling Asleep at the Wheel
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Drowsiness affects alertness, reaction time, and perception, while falling asleep at the wheel is extremely likely to lead to a crash. In fact, studies have shown that a driver who has not slept for over 24 hours experiences similar effects to someone with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10%, which is above the legal limit for driving. If you have a long drive ahead of you, there are a few tips and tricks for making sure that you are safe and alert on the road. Continue reading for advice on how to avoid falling asleep at the wheel, and call a dedicated Vancouver car crash lawyer if you have been hurt in a car accident in Washington State.
Get Enough Sleep
If you can plan ahead before a long drive, do your best to get at least six to eight hours of sleep the night before. If you did not sleep the night before, limit your driving. Drivers who get on the road after five or fewer hours of sleep are significantly more likely to wind up in an accident.
Eat and Drink the Right Stuff
Many people who are feeling tired before or during a long drive will try to put off drowsiness by drinking something heavily caffeinated or sugary. High doses of sugar or caffeine can alleviate the feeling of drowsiness, but they may not actually make you more alert at the wheel. Moreover, sometime later you are more likely to feel a huge energy crash when the effects wear off. Heavy junk food is also counter-productive. Drinking water or juice and eating high-protein foods are better for promoting sustained energy and alertness.
Wear Sunglasses in the Daytime
Direct sunlight dries out your eyes and causes you to squint. If you are already feeling drowsy, direct sunlight can aggravate the problem by making you want to close your eyes while driving. Mitigate the effect by wearing sunglasses and otherwise avoiding having direct sunlight beamed at your eyes.
If you are on a long drive, take breaks at least every two hours. Pull over to a gas station, restaurant, or rest stop. Get out and stretch your legs, drink some water, and regroup. If you have someone else in the car with you, trade off driving shifts.
Try a Power Nap
If you are the only one able to drive and you are drifting off, consider pulling over to a rest stop or other safe location and taking a quick 30-minute nap. A power nap can refresh and energize you and reduce the likelihood that you will fall asleep at the wheel.
Call Vancouver Attorney John Lutgens if Hit by a Drowsy Driver in Washington State
For experienced and dedicated help pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death claim after a traffic crash in Vancouver, or elsewhere throughout Washington, contact Vancouver auto accident lawyer John Lutgens for a no-cost consultation at 360-693-2119.