How can I prevent driver fatigue?

Now that warm weather is finally here, many people are planning summer road trips with friends and family. Taking a road trip across the country is a great way to see many amazing sights. However, motorists must be cautious when it comes to driving while fatigued. 

Fatigued and drowsy driving are major contributors to serious accidents. According to The National Safety Council, drowsy driving has a similar effect to driving with a BAC of 0.08%. This impairment increases your risk of crashing three-fold, which can harm you, your passengers, and other motorists. When taking an extended road trip this summer, here are a few steps you can take to prevent drowsy driving. 

Know the signs of fatigue 

Driving fatigue can be easily identified in many cases. Incessant yawning, difficulty keeping your eyes open, and an inability to concentrate are all signs of fatigue. You may also find it challenging to maintain proper lane discipline or have a hard time navigating to your destination because you keep missing turn-offs and exits. If any of these signs are present while driving, find a safe space to stop immediately and pull over so you can rest or another driver can take over. 

Get plenty of sleep 

Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Before your big trip, make sure you go to bed early enough to prevent tiredness and do not leave packing until the last minute (as it may extend your bedtime). When you are on the road, take breaks as needed. In general, driving breaks should occur every two hours, so be sure to switch off with other adults you are traveling with. Also, it is best to stop driving at night and look for lodging to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. 

Invest in crash avoidance tech 

If you are in the process of shopping for a new vehicle, look for one that includes crash avoidance technology. Some vehicles are outfitted with sensors that alert you when you drift into another lane. Others use a “drowsiness alert” by detecting eye patterns and other facial cues that indicate a driver is in need of rest. While these safety features may increase costs, they are more than worth it when it comes to your well-being.