According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, driver fatigue leads to over 300,000 crashes each year in the United States—over 6,000 of them fatal. It’s especially important to stay alert on icy or snowy roads, when conditions can change quickly.
Tips on Preventing Fatigue While Driving
- Get enough sleep. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, and be sure to get a good night’s sleep before a long drive.
- Schedule frequent breaks on long trips.
- Avoid driving overnight and in the midafternoon, when we tend to be the least alert.
- Don’t depend on coffee or drugs to keep you awake.
- Don’t drink alcohol, especially if you’re already drowsy.
- Don’t drive with warm air blowing on your face.
Tips on Identifying Fatigue While Driving
Signs of fatigue can include:
- Frequent yawning or difficulty keeping your eyes open.
- Drifting from your lane.
- Difficulty maintaining your speed.
- “Nodding off” or feeling a decrease in alertness.
If you notice any signs of fatigue, get off the road and rest. Drink coffee before your nap to take advantage of both of their benefits, but don’t rely on caffeine for long periods. While it may seem like a good idea to rely on the radio or fresh air from an open window to help you stay alert, remember that these tactics do not really keep you awake.