Road Trip Season Can Bring Uptick in Fatigued Driving

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With children out of school, numerous families will pack up their bags to head out on a road trip and take advantage of the scenic routes and tourist stops that the country has to offer. But lengthy travels can prompt drivers to ignore their body’s natural need for rest, which is why the law offices of Handler Henning & Rosenberg have put together a list of safety tips that aim to curb the threat of fatigued driving.

Citizens who would never dream of drinking alcohol prior to driving would nevertheless have no qualms with driving for hours on end if it means getting to their destination by a certain time

With summer almost here, many families across the United States will embark on road trips to visit friends, family, and tourist destinations around the country. But this surge in interstate traffic can also create an insidious threat that goes overlooked far too often: fatigued driving.

Distracted driving and driving while intoxicated get their fair share of press in the modern world, but fatigued driving goes sadly overlooked despite its distinct impact on public safety. When a driver is exhausted, he or she can find their motor functions impaired, unable to react in time to avoid an injurious or even fatal accident.

The Harrisburg automobile accident lawyers of Handler Henning & Rosenberg understand the tragedy that can stem from exhaustion at the wheel because they’ve seen it firsthand. They know that falling asleep while driving isn’t just a danger that affects commercial long-haul drivers. Anyone who has been awake for a significant amount of time can find themselves nodding off in the midst of traffic, and if you’re taking a trip this summer, you have to plan ahead to avoid the pitfalls that all so often lead to fatigue.

“We certainly understand the appeal of the great American road trip,” said attorney W. Scott Henning, “but the last thing you want to do is compromise the safety of your family when traveling across the country. Citizens who would never dream of drinking alcohol prior to driving would nevertheless have no qualms with driving for hours on end if it means getting to their destination by a certain time. This kind of thinking endangers everyone on the road.”

The good news is that there are preventative options that are easy to put into practice. If you know that you’re going to be taking a trip this summer that might require extended travel, consider some tips from Handler Henning & Rosenberg that can reduce the threat of fatigued driving.

  • Take Your Time- We understand that you want to get to your destination as quickly as possible, but sticking to an unreasonable timetable could endanger you and your family if you drive beyond your limits. Book lodging options at regular intervals along your trip so that you can stop and get ample rest
  • Careful Preparation- Avoiding fatigue starts before you even leave your home. Put together a bag full of healthy snacks so your body can remain energized. Figure out directions before you leave the home so you won’t become lost and forced to keep driving longer than you initially thought. Also, have some idea of where restaurants, rest areas, and other great places to take a break are located.
  • Have a Back-up Plan- If you find yourself yawning or constantly wiping your eyes after you’ve been on the road a long time, exchange seats with someone else who’s capable of driving safely, be they a spouse or an acquaintance of sufficient age.
  • Don’t Rely on Tricks- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explains that attempts to trick your body into being more alert rarely benefit the driver for more than a short time. Caffeine might make you alert for a little while, but the actual effect will depend on your regular intake and your body’s natural response to the stimulant. And if you blast the radio or roll down the window, not only will your wakefulness last for just moments, but you’re also going to irritate your family.
  • Refrain From Other Dangerous Behaviors- Exhaustion is dangerous enough at the wheel; when you combine it with alcohol consumption, aggressive driving, or distraction, the results can be tragic. Keep your mind focused on the road at all times to get to your next stop safely.

These steps can help you avoid exhaustion at the wheel. It’s important to use such precautions in order to protect both your family and other travelers. The last thing you want is to be held responsible for an injurious or deadly crash.

The personal injury lawyers of Handler Henning & Rosenberg have been assisting injured parties for more than 90 years. W. Scott Henning and the rest of the firm’s partners offer representation to persons injured in a host of automobile accidents, including those stemming from fatigued driving. In addition, HHR has experience in matters of defective products, premises liability, workers compensation, dog bites, and more. Injured parties are encouraged to call to obtain a free consultation.

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Becky S. Voras
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