The recent CTA Blue line crash awakens our need to be aware of fatigue prevention. Fatigue is all too common, and a cause of many automobile accidents. Fatigue is something most drivers don’t even think about. When tired, the driver wants to get home as quickly as possible, and unintentionally risks harming themselves and others on the road. While getting behind the wheel tired differs from getting behind the wheel drunk, it can be just as hazardous. You know when you’re too drunk to drive, but do you know when you are too tired to drive? Here are a few tips to help prevent driving under the Zzzz’s influence.
It’s recommended that you get about 6 to 8 hours of sleep before heading out on the road. While getting this amount of sleep may be difficult for some, it’s something to strive towards. Your body reacts differently when it’s tired. A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that people who got a night’s rest of 6 hours or less were four to five times as likely to cause a car accident. Not only is sleep important when driving, it’s important for everyday function.
Many prescribed medications can have a drowsiness side effect that could impair someone while driving. Medications have warnings for a reason. Taking these warnings seriously could save lives. Never start a new medication and drive a long distance. You aren’t sure how you will react to the new medication. Likewise, talk to your doctor about different options – there may be a better medication option that is less likely to cause fatigue.
Using public transportation is a great way of avoiding irresponsible driving. While no one wants to sit on a train after a long hard day, it may be safer than getting behind the wheel. Using this time to relax, and regroup is a way to benefit from the commute. It’s still important to mention, though, that being aware of your surroundings on a train is important too.
Most fatigue accidents happen between the hours of 12 am, and 6 am. Trying to avoid driving these hours may help decrease your chances of falling asleep at the wheel. Most of the time drivers drive at these times when they are making a long-distance trip. Planning your trip ahead of time, or making sure you have a well-rested passenger in the car that you can shift responsibility too is a great way to avoid an accident.
If find yourself nodding off while driving, it’s important to pull over. Pushing through the fatigue only makes the situation worse. If you are able to, find a place to stay for the night. If that’s not possible, pull over and take a short 15-20min nap. This may help wake you up and keep you alert. If after the nap you find that you are still too tired to drive, give yourself some more time. Driving tired can be just as harmful as driving drunk.
If you have been hurt or involved in a car accident due to a person driving while fatigued, contact the personal injury attorneys at the Horwitz Law Group. Call today to schedule a FREE consultation with Chicago’s personal injury attorney at (312) 641-9200.
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