Driver fatigue is a very real problem, which can result in dangerous driving practices.  The term “driver fatigue” is an umbrella term that encompasses both mental and physical exertion which results in impaired driving performance.  Impaired drivers are dangerous drivers.  Learn what you can do to prevent driver fatigue.

Signs of Driver Fatigue

The first step in eliminating driver fatigue is recognizing signs of fatigue.  Signs of fatigue can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Difficulty remembering the last few miles driven
  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Driving over rumble strips
  • Irritability
  • Missed exits
  • Nodding off
  • Restlessness
  • Sleepiness
  • Thoughts that wander
  • Yawning frequently

Any time a driver exhibits these signs, they should take steps to get off the road.  This might include switching driving duties with a passenger in the car or pulling over for a time to address driver fatigue.

Dealing with Driver Fatigue After it Happens

Napping is considered the best way to deal with driver fatigue.  Studies show that napping is a more effective remedy than consuming cups of coffee for dealing with driver fatigue.  A 45-minute nap is considered optimal.  However, even a 10 minute nap can make an enormous difference in one’s level of fatigue felt.  When experiencing driver fatigue, if a driver cannot switch places with another, they should consider a short nap at a rest stop or in a parking lot where they are safe.

As long as you’re already pulled over, why not try a few other methods known to reduce fatigue?  Take a quick walk in the sunshine.  Exercise naturally boosts energy.  Walking in sunshine appears to enhance memory, mood, and one’s ability to absorb information.  Drinking water and having a bit of food can also help with fatigue.Driver Fatigue

Fight Driver Fatigue Before it Starts

Particularly if you know you are going to be driving for a while, it is a good idea to be proactive about driver fatigue.  Our bodies are naturally sleepier between the hours of midnight and 6 am.  People also experience a natural drop in energy between 2 and 4 pm.  When people are already lacking sufficient sleep, the sleepiness we experience during these times is felt more severely.

Eating regularly helps the body avoid fatigue.  Skipping meals, and eating at irregular times can increase feelings of fatigue.  It is a good idea to plan healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals.  Hydration is also critically important.  Drivers should be mindful of their water intake, making certain they are adequately hydrated.

Finally, drivers should be mindful of potential side effects of medication.  Both over the counter and prescription drugs can cause drowsiness.  Drivers should not drive after taking a new medication, or one that has induced sleepiness in the past.

Stay Safe Out There!

At Schnipper Law, P.C., we want you to be safe.  Avoiding driver fatigue, and recognizing driver fatigue, are critical to keeping you, your family, and others safe on the road.  If your family has been harmed due to the devastating effects of someone else’s driver fatigue or inattention, contact us.  We represent Atlanta car crash victims, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.  We work hard to recover money for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  Call for a free consultation at (404) 983-6051.

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