A long road trip may be fun, but fatigue can turn it into a nightmare. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 100,000 cases of police-reported crashes are caused by fatigue. If you are planning a road trip, take the following precautions to avoid fatigue-related accidents:
Get Adequate Sleep
While you may be excited on the eve of your road trip, it's in everybody's interest for you to get adequate sleep. Plan everything in advance, so you don't engage in last minute packing and planning the night to your trip. Even if you usually sleep late, retire early on the eve of your trip. That way you will get adequate rest and will be less likely to fall asleep at the wheel.
Mind Your Biological Clock
Most people are programmed to feel sleepy at particular times of the day. For example, there are those who can't stay awake past ten o'clock while others can easily go past midnight. However, the later it is the more likely you are to feel sleepy. Therefore, it's advisable to time your road trip such that your normal sleeping time finds you at a rest stop.
Take Constant Breaks
Even if you are well rested before setting off, fatigue is likely to set in after several hours behind the wheel. Deal with it by taking breaks every few hours. Just pull over somewhere safe and stretch your legs. The breath of fresh air will help you too.
Take Turns Driving
If you have more than one person who can drive in the car, don't hog the wheel. Take turns driving so that you don't get too tired to pay attention to the road. Those who aren't driving may even take naps; that way you can rest without losing time. However, it's best if the driver isn't the only one awake; talking with others may also help prevent drowsiness.
Avoid Alcohol Completely
Anybody who will be driving should avoid alcohol. The obvious reason for this is that driving under the influence is both dangerous and illegal. You may think that taking one drink isn't a big problem, but you may not be safe even if your blood alcohol level doesn't reach the illegal limit. Alcohol is a muscle relaxant and sedative, so it will make you drowsy.
Hopefully, you will enjoy your road trip without any negative incident. However, you might still get in an accident with or without fatigue despite your best precautions. Use your best judgment to decide whether to consult an attorney after a crash. As a rule, don't fail to consult a car accident lawyer if somebody is hurt in the accident. An attorney like those at the Littman & Babiarz Law Office may be able to help.