Road Trips Part I: Driving Drowsy is Dangerous

Posted on May 23, 2018

Driver’s fatigue, we’ve all been there. Between your demanding job and family obligations, it can be tough to get the full 7-8 hours sleep that most adults need. It happens during your commute home after an exhausting day at work. It also happens when you’ve decided to push through the night, forgo the hotel in order to save money during a family road trip. What most people don’t realize is that driving drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, according to a Reuters report, driving sleepy and driving drunk both have the potential to double your risk for a car accident. Fatigue can also cloud an exhausted driver’s judgment, which can lead to dangerous road rage incidents or other questionable driving decisions.

Road Trips are a great opportunity for a family to spend some quality time together. If you plan on traveling during the upcoming holiday weekend, make sure you and your family are prepared to deal with traffic, road conditions, and potential car trouble before you hit the road. Also be sure to plan your drive and rest time accordingly. Whether you’re heading north into New Hampshire or Maine, south to New York City or crossing the country, here are ten ways to stay awake while looking for a place to rest.

  1. Open your windows
    A cool, refreshing breeze can have a similar effect as cold water on the face. Take deep breaths, open your eyes wide and enjoy the fresh air.
  2. Pull over and move around
    If the fresh air didn’t get you going, pull over and do some light exercise. Stretch, do some jumping jacks or anything else that might get your blood pumping. Getting our of your car and moving for a few minutes can help you regain the energy you need to stay alert while driving.
  3. Grab a cup of coffee
    Every 24 hour gas station has coffee. You may even get lucky and find one that has good coffee. If coffee isn’t your thing, grab a cold, caffeinated beverage.
  4. Listen to music
    Listening to some of your favorite up-beat classics can spark up nostalgia and give you the extra push you need to get to your destination safely.
  5. Listen to your favorite podcast
    Podcasts can be a more immersive experience than listening to music. There are literally thousands out there to choose from and they range in genre from comedy, sports, politics and even history. (Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is a great choice). Podcasts will usually require you to engage while listening and often question how you feel about a certain topic.

These tips are by no means a substitute for actual rest. Getting sleep should be your first priority if you find yourself driving drowsy.

If you are a passenger on a road trip, make sure you are doing your part. If possible, take turns driving, control the music, and help out with navigation so the driver can focus on the road. Sometimes a driver doesn’t even realize how tired they are. Keep an eye on them and check in every so often.

Check back soon for part II of this blog. Road Trips Part II: Top 10 Worst Driving States in the Country.

Safe travels from all of us at Spada Law Group.