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Sleep Deprivation and Driving: A Dangerous Combination

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A car veers off a deserted highway in the middle of the night at 70 mph and goes over the embankment. Nobody sees it happen and the driver is dead. A car drifts from the lane for no apparent reason and slams into an oncoming vehicle, killing both drivers. Drinking and driving was not cause, talking on the phone and texting were not the reason. More than likely, these accidents were caused by fatigue.

Fatigue and driving is a very dangerous combination, especially at night or on long road trips. Driver fatigue can cause a driver to fall asleep at the wheel or make serious, even fatal, driving errors. Fatigue causes more accidents because of slower reaction time; the ability to concentrate is reduced and it takes longer to comprehend the surroundings. Could you pass a driver fatigue quiz? Signs of fatigue can seriously impair your driving skills, such as:

· frequent yawning and blinking

· crossing over the road lines; wandering in another lane of over the median

· varying speed for no reason and breaking too late

· misjudging traffic situations

· seeing things "jump out" in the road (this can also be a vision problem which should be checked by a eye specialist)

· daydreaming, yawning

· not remembering driving the last few miles

· closing eyes for brief moments or eyes going out of focus

Not recognizing these warning signs can be deadly for you and those around you. It is important to recognize them and act responsibly. Here are some prevention tips:

· Get plenty of rest; even a 20 minute power nap will make a big difference

· Try to limit driving to normal waking hours.

· Take frequent breaks when traveling on long trips

· Share the driving, if possible

· Avoid eating heavy foods

· Don’t drink and drive

· Drink plenty of water and eat fruit and healthy snacks

· Avoid medicines with warning signs of drowiness

· Adjust the seat to an upright position; don’t slouch

It is clear that the best way to manage fatigue is simply to get enough sleep. Maintaining a sensible sleep regime is the key. Like drinking and driving, fatigue and driving are not a good combination. Wrap yourself around a pillow, not a tree. As the industry leader in auto accident lawsuit funding, Lawsuit Financial has seen first hand, the devastating results of an accident due to driver fatigue. We urge everyone to be mindful of fatigue and not drive. Eliminating this risk will go a long way to preventing serious and fatal auto accidents.

1 Comment

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Very good list, it’s very dangerous to drive when tired. Safer to take a break and not push it. Way to many tragedies of people doing to much and falling asleep at the wheel.