Tips for Staying Alert Behind the Wheel
Whether you’re driving home on a Friday after a long week or driving across the country for a family reunion, we’re all guilty of giving less than 100% of our focus to the road when we’re behind the wheel. Unfortunately, there are a variety of dangers associated with distracted and fatigued driving. If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, McMath Woods P.A. is here for you.
Thousands of accident occur on Arkansas’ road every year. Many of them are related to instances of distracted driving. To aid in the prevention of accidents related to distractions and fatigue, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do before driving and while driving to stay alert and remain focused.
Leave Ahead of Time
While we all have those mornings where we’re rushing out the door with coffee in one hand and keys in the other, it’s a good idea to try to leave ahead of time when you’re driving. Preparation is key to ensure you’ll leave with enough time to get you to where you’re going without rushing.
If you’re traveling to a new location, make sure you preview the directions multiple times. If you have an idea of where you’re going, you’ll be more comfortable driving. It’s also a good idea to plan out what you need to take with you every day and have those items in a single location, so you’re not scrambling in the morning.
Always check the weather before you leave. If it’s raining or snowing, you’ll want to leave even earlier to account for poor road conditions. It’s also a good idea to consult your GPS for any traffic delays, road closures, or route changes. It’s better to know you’re going to get stuck in traffic than to have to unexpectedly sit in traffic for an unknown amount of time.
If you neglect to take the above preparations into consideration, you may find yourself in a hurry. While you may not realize it, this can be dangerous. Speeding is one of the number one causes of accidents in the country. Rushing may also act as a distraction. If you’re too focused on what your day is going to look like instead of the road in front of you, you may miss something crucial.
Get Enough Sleep
It can be incredibly dangerous to operate a vehicle while tired. In fact, fatigue can be almost as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol because it can cause a range of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. The most concerning symptoms are impaired decision-making and slowed reflexes and response time.
Even with the air conditioner blasting and the radio turned up, if you drive tired you may begin to close your eyes without realizing it. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second can have deadly consequences.
In order to avoid driving fatigued, do what you can to get your body the rest it needs. Also, try to avoid driving between midnight and 6:00 AM. It’s better to get behind the wheel when your body naturally wants to be awake.
Fuel Your Body
It’s important to eat a healthy meal before traveling, especially if you’re planning on driving a long distance. The right meal, with a balance of protein and complex carbohydrates, will provide you with the stamina you need to focus on the road in front of you. It’s also important to stay hydrated to avoid the development of unnecessary headaches and fatigue.
You should eat before you get behind the wheel, because eating while driving is a distraction. In order to be fully focused on the road, you need to have both eyes and both hands on the wheel. You also need to focus your attention on your surroundings and the other drivers near you. If you’re trying to eat while operating your vehicle, you risk the chance of getting into an accident.
Taking breaks while driving is always a good idea. While this might not be necessary on your daily commute to work, if you’re driving across state lines or traveling for hours at a time scheduled breaks can benefit you in multiple ways. If your body is in the same position for too long, you’ll start to tense up which can make you tired. Stopping to stretch and get the blood flowing again can make you more alert. Taking breaks also gives your eyes the opportunity to rest away from the constant traffic.
Multitask Outside of the Vehicle
Whether you need to make a phone call, send a text, check your email, or comb your hair, wait to do those tasks until you’ve stopped your vehicle. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of vehicle collisions. Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to effectively complete multiple complex tasks at one time. If your eyes are on your phone, your brain isn’t on the road.
Driving gives us the freedom we need to get to where we need to go without relying on someone else or public transportation. When that freedom is used irresponsibly, others may suffer. Car accidents can change lives in less than a second. If you’ve sustained injuries after a wreck and are in need of compensation to cover your lost wages, medical expenses, and suffering, our lawyers are prepared to help you. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options.