On average, Americans get less than seven hours of sleep per night. Four out of ten Americans get less than six hours of sleep each night. This wasn’t always the case, either – in 1910 the average American slept nine hours each night. Today’s long work schedules, stresses, and 24/7 access to the entire world has led to an increase in drowsy driving – which has, in turn, triggered an increase in car accidents.
Too often, people believe that there is nothing they can do about this issue. The truth is that there are steps you can take to stay safer and reduce your chance of causing an accident. Keep reading and contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker if you are injured in a car accident.
The Best Option is to Get Enough Sleep
Of course, the best way to stay alert when driving is to ensure you are getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep at night – but preferably eight to nine. There are ways you can increase your alertness while driving, which we will cover below, but none of them are a substitute for getting quality, uninterrupted sleep. If you are driving and you find you are getting drowsy then you should pull over and stop driving.
Use the Buddy System if You Are Not the Only Driver
If you are driving a long distance and have other drivers in the car with you, then using the buddy system is the best option. This involves pulling over every two hours to switch drivers. If possible, the person not driving should be napping so they can remain alert when it’s their turn to drive again.
Do Your Best Not to Drive When You’d Normally Be Sleeping
If possible, do not drive during hours you would normally be sleeping. For most people, this is between midnight and 6 AM. Not only is it harder to stay awake when it’s dark out, but your body will naturally be trying to prepare itself to sleep – and this can be dangerous to you and others on the road.
Drink Water and Chew Gum
Many people assume that drinking massive amounts of caffeine is the best option. This is false. Caffeine highs come with caffeine crashes as the caffeine wears off. If you are very tired, caffeine will generally just make you jittery but you will remain tired. Instead, chew gum and sip cold water frequently. These have been proven to help people stay awake and alert.
Listen to an Upbeat Podcast
Music, no matter how loud or fast, is rhythmical and can lull you into sleep. Instead, stick to upbeat podcasts such as a comedy podcast. This will keep your attention and help prevent you from getting tired.
If you are involved in a car accident and someone else was at fault – even partially – it is worth contacting a personal injury attorney for a free legal consultation. You can reach The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 right away.