When car accidents occur, it’s easy to point the finger at the driver who was speeding, or the one who ran a red light. Unfortunately, countless accidents are caused by something much more difficult to control: driver fatigue.
How does driver fatigue lead to accidents?
One of the most common ways driver fatigue can lead to accidents is the fact that it makes drivers fall asleep behind the wheel. This can happen when a driver has been on the road for too long, or if they are driving during a time when they would normally be sleeping. Also, drivers who are taking medication that makes them drowsy can fall asleep while driving. For instance, many cold and allergy medications have drowsiness as a side effect.
Another way driver fatigue can cause motor vehicle accidents is by slowing reaction times. When drivers are tired, they may not be able to react as quickly to things happening on the road. This can make it difficult to avoid accidents even if the driver is not falling asleep. Lastly, driver fatigue can cause accidents by making it difficult to make good decisions, especially when faced with split-second decisions.
What causes driver fatigue in the first place?
One of the most common causes is simply driving for too long without taking a break. This can be especially true if the driver is not used to driving long distances, or if they are driving in unfamiliar territory. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, drivers who have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs (prescription or otherwise) can also experience driver fatigue. Lastly, drivers who are not getting enough sleep at night may also be more likely to experience driver fatigue during the day.
If you are driving, make sure to take breaks every few hours even if you don’t feel tired. If you’re taking medication that makes you drowsy, make sure not to drive until the effects have worn off. Also, if you’re feeling tired, pull over and take a nap. It’s better to arrive late than not at all. Lastly, if you’re driving in unfamiliar territory, make sure to give yourself extra time to get to your destination.