Driver Fatigue and How to Prevent It
Driver fatigue is a common occurrence and can impact the safety of you and other drivers on the roadway. It is crucial you recognize when you are experiencing fatigue while behind the wheel and understand it is time to take a much needed rest. Although many may believe driver fatigue is not a serious concern, driver fatigue can lead to dangerous scenarios on the road. In fact, in 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers, which led to an estimated 50,000 people sustaining injuries and almost 800 deaths. Acknowledging fatigue and knowing what you should do once feeling fatigue is key to maintaining safe conditions for you, your family and other drivers around you.
What exactly is driver fatigue? Driver fatigue can be caused by a variety of different factors. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that “[f]atigue is the result of physical or mental exertion that impairs performance.” Driver fatigue can occur when you do not get enough sleep, do not receive a quality level of sleep and/or are awake for too long without taking a break/nap. Also, driver fatigue is not just sleep-related. You can experience driver fatigue as a result of being on certain medications that cause you to feel drowsy or tired. Additionally, repetitive tasks can lead you to start feeling fatigued.
So now that we know where driver fatigue stems from, what are some tips to avoid feeling fatigued while operating a motor vehicle? Fortunately, there are many simple steps you can take to help you feel fresh and awake behind the wheel. The NHTSA provides a number of tips on how to stay alert, including getting a good night’s sleep, avoiding drinking any level of alcohol, not driving late at night or in the early hours of the morning (midnight to 6 a.m.), and checking prescription and over-the-counter medications to see if drowsiness is a potential side effect. Of course, there a number of other steps you can take to make sure that you are awake and alert on the roadway.
All in all, driver fatigue can impact many drivers and create hazardous situations. It is important to understand that fatigue can strike at any time. Being proactive in preventing fatigue and knowing what to do when you start to feel fatigue can prevent collisions and ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers on the roadway. Be alert and drive safe!
Driver fatigue is a common occurrence and can impact the safety of you and other drivers on the roadway.