Prevent Drowsy Driving With These Tips

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In the wake of a recent study that reveals just how dangerous insomnia and in turn drowsy driving can be, the Seattle car accident lawyers of the Bernard Law Group are offering some important safety tips to citizens.

Next to intoxication and distraction, excessive drowsiness is perhaps the most dangerous obstacle on the road.

While the media has done a good job relating to the public just how dangerous activities like drunk driving and texting at the wheel are, there’s another all too common habit that creates its share of vicious automobile collisions: drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving contributes to an alarmingly high number of crashes every single year, but pinpointing this as the direct cause of an accident is exceedingly difficult. While a person’s blood alcohol content or text message history speak for themselves, it’s not as easy to demonstrate that a person fell asleep at the wheel.

That’s why studies like the one featured in a recent edition of Sleep is so important. Hailing from researchers in Norway and Sweden, the study analyzed the impact that insomnia has on the likelihood of a person sustaining a fatal injury. As covered by Red Orbit on November 4 in an article titled “Asleep At The Wheel: Insomnia Increases Risk Of Motor Vehicle Deaths,” the three symptoms of the condition contribute to a 2.8-fold greater risk of an injurious fatality.

Given the threat, the time is ripe to remind people how important it is to avoid exhaustion at the wheel. The Bernard Law Group, composed of Seattle personal injury attorneys who have been working diligently for the citizens of Washington for 30 years, is offering tips on staving off the conditions that breed drowsy driving and an ensuing collision. Lead attorney Kirk Bernard had this to say:

“Next to intoxication and distraction, excessive drowsiness is perhaps the most dangerous obstacle on the road,” said Mr. Bernard. “There’s someone to take the keys or the phone away from other irresponsible drivers, but you’re far less likely to see someone insist that a tired driver pull over. This, combined with an inability for most people to properly judge their own levels of exhaustion, means that we have a lot of work to do to raise awareness about this important issue.”

These tips may serve to improve safety when put into action by drivers:

•Don’t Be Too Proud- The same people who won’t let a touch of alcohol pass their lips if they’re going to drive may nevertheless swear up and down that they’re okay to drive even though they’re clearly exhausted. Here’s an idea: sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet environment for ten minutes before driving. If you drift off, daydream, or have to fight to stay awake, it’s not okay to drive.

•Buzz Is Fleeting- Some people drink coffee in a bid to stave off intoxication, a ploy that’s doomed to fail. Similarly, a person won’t be able to magically drive for hours just because they knocked back an energy drink. The effects of such beverages are very temporary, and the ensuing crash can create an even more pronounced danger. Don’t rely on caffeine to stay awake.

•Commercial Prospects- This tip is for those with some sort of commercial driver’s license: do not, under any circumstances, disobey regulations or fudge documentation in the name of making it to a destination more quickly. The DOT has rules in place that govern hours at the wheel precisely so that drivers don’t get fatigued. When these rules are breached, the public is put at risk.

•Planning Is Everything- Don’t underestimate how long it will take to get to a destination, especially during something like a road trip, when unfamiliar territory can cause a person to get lost and have to focus more intensely on the road, creating strain that can exacerbate exhaustion. Plan out a trip in increments, with alternate stops and routes along the way in the event that the original blueprint doesn’t work out.

•Flip The Switch- When all else fails, have someone to switch driving honors with when the trip proves longer than initially anticipated. Take turns driving and napping, and if it comes to the point where it’s necessary to pull over to a rest area so that both drivers can get a couple hours of shuteye, then by all means stop. Realize that it’s better to be late than to never arrive at all.

Kirk Bernard has been protecting the rights of Washington personal injury victims for 30 years, achieving landmark court victories and settlements in the process. The Bernard Law Group provides legal representation for those injured in car crashes, bicycle collisions, workplace accidents, medical malpractice situations, defective drug incidents, premises liability cases, and more. Persons interested in a free consultation may click to visit the Bernard Law Group for information.

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Megan Castello
Bernard Law Group
since: 04/2009
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