Driving while drowsy can lead to car accidents, which is when you need to contact a Chicago car accident lawyer. One reason behind this high rate may be that drivers aren’t aware of how to minimize their chances of drowsy driving or what to do if they do start feeling the signs of fatigue while behind the wheel. Luckily, though, there are several steps you can take to avoid dangerous situations while on the road, as explained in this list of tips to avoid drowsy driving by our friends at Disparti Law Group.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and keep brain function alert. The most common mistake when it comes to driving and drowsiness is not drinking enough water. When you don’t drink enough water, your blood flow becomes slower, meaning that less oxygen gets to your brain. For this reason, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids while behind the wheel and take breaks every few hours to rehydrate, especially in dry climates or during the winter months when our bodies are more prone to dehydration due to warmer temperatures and lower humidity levels. Plus, if you are guzzling coffee to stay awake on a trip, it dehydrates you which can actually add to your drowsiness.
Get Up and Move Around When Possible
The first way to avoid drowsy driving is the obvious one, which is avoiding the impulse of driving when you are very tired. If you know that you will be getting on the road for an extended period of time, try not to drink any coffee after 4pm and make sure you get a lot of sleep in advance. It can be tempting to stop at a gas station or coffee shop on your drive if you feel the need for caffeine, but it’s usually better just to turn around.
If this doesn’t work, try getting up and moving around during your drive when possible. This might mean shifting your position in your seat frequently or rolling down your window and sticking out your arm as a signal that you need help waking up.
Eat Before You Travel
A lack of sleep can have serious consequences for drivers. Research shows that the risk of an accident is significantly higher for those who have not slept well in a long time. If you are driving and feeling drowsy, find a safe place to pull over and get some rest. Although this may not always be possible, being conscious of the risks will help you prevent becoming fatigued while driving. When you are preparing to leave on a road trip, make sure you eat well before driving so that you do not become tired after eating a large meal or snack. Moreover, research has shown that caffeine can keep your mind alert and make it easier for drivers to fall asleep while they are on the road when they need it most.
Play Music in the Background
Have a lively song in the background to keep you awake by either turning on a radio station, playing music from your phone, or listening to an audiobook. These options will make it easier for you to focus on driving and less likely that you’ll doze off while driving.
Never Drive Sleepy
While the above tips are great, at the end of the day, it really comes down to this: never drive sleepy — especially if you are going on a long drive. But, if you find yourself a little tired behind the wheel, use these tips.
And, if you get into a car accident, contact a lawyer immediately.