We recently covered the tragic case of 60-year-old Claude Hogue and his family, who were headed to the beach after a long trek across the country. The family never made it to their destination, however, because Hogue fell asleep behind the wheel and the car crashed into several trees off of I-95. Hogue was killed, and five others suffered injuries. In another recent Virginia accident, a bus driver allegedly nodded off while, crashing his vehicle and killing four passengers.
As you can see, driver fatigue is an important issue – and lives can be saved if only all Virginia motorists would understand that lives could be saved if they simply stopped driving while tired. How can you prevent driver fatigue?
- Stay involved with your driving. Your chances of nodding off increase if you are using cruise control, daydreaming, and not paying close attention to the road. Focus your attention on driving and avoid “zoning out.”
- Avoid dangerous times of the day and night. The majority of fatigue-related accidents occur when most people are usually asleep – late at night and early in the morning. Plan your trips to avoid driving during these times.
- Take a pit stop. Safety advocates suggest stopping once every two hours or once every one hundred hours. Stop for coffee, a snack, or just a stroll to keep your brain and body alert and moving.
- Don’t fight fatigue. Some might try to continue to drive while sleepy by rolling down the windows or playing loud music. There are not ideal solutions. Instead, take a 15 minute nap in your care or check into a hotel room for the night. Forcing yourself to stay awake at the wheel is taking a huge risk.
- Get sleep the night before. If you begin your trip while sleepy, the situation will only worsen after time. If planning a trip, be sure to get a full eight hours of sleep before you go. Avoid leaving for long trips after a day of work or after an extended period without sleep.
- Carpool. Being able to switch off drivers not only helps both of you rest, but it also gives you a companion to chat with and keep you alert.