6 Ways to Prevent Fatigued Driving During the Holidays

For many people, the holiday season is one of the most anticipated times of the year, but it is often also one of the most hectic. Between running errands, shopping for gifts, planning family get-togethers, traveling, and even studying for finals before heading home for Christmas, it can be easy for a person to forego sleep in order to get everything done. Unfortunately, this can have the unintended consequence of increasing the likelihood of a preventable accident, especially an auto accident.

Many people are unaware that a fatigued driver can be just as dangerous behind the wheel as a drunk driver. Drowsy driving can result in slower reaction times, lack of concentration, and poor judgment, making it more difficult for drivers to pay attention to the road and react quickly enough to avoid an impending collision. Driving while sleepy also places the driver at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, something that actually happens with disturbing frequency. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll reveals that 37% of adult drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel at least once.

Here’s what you can do to prevent fatigued driving this holiday season:

  • Driving a long distance? Make sure that you get a full night’s rest – at least 7 hours or more – the night before.
  • Be sure to take regular rest breaks throughout your trip to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Do this even if you don’t think you feel sleepy – you might be surprised how much better you will feel to get off the road even for a few minutes.
  • Avoid driving more than eight to ten hours a day. If your trip will take longer than this, it is a good idea to stop somewhere and spend the night.
  • Avoid eating heavy foods before your trip that may cause you to feel full. This may lead to drowsiness.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol before your trip. Even a small amount can contribute to driver fatigue.
  • Wherever possible, it is a good idea to share the driving responsibility with someone else. That way, when one person becomes tired, the other can take over.

Don’t let a preventable accident ruin your holiday. Make sure you take the necessary precautions to avoid driver fatigue so that you can protect yourself, your passengers, and others on the road.

If you or a loved one is injured this holiday season, Miller Injury Attorneys can help. A Sacramento personal injury attorney at our firm is prepared to review your case free of charge. Call us at (916) 525-7761 to learn more about your rights.