The KRASA LAW, Inc. Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How to Avoid Drowsy Driving

I have always loved cars.  From a very early age, my dad took me to car shows and shared his passion for “rolling art.”  When I was a small child, each birthday was a countdown to how many years it would be until I was old enough to get my own driver’s license.  Once I had my driver’s license, I happily became my grandmother’s chauffeur, driving her to the grocery store, her doctor appointments, and on other routine errands. 

Even for those who are not car fanatics, the ability to drive is a powerful force that represents freedom.  Until the day that self-driving cars take over the automotive industry, the ability to hop in a car and travel immediately to a destination of choice is a serious responsibility.  Although it is well-documented that seniors might have to one day face the reality that it is no longer safe to drive, drowsy driving is a danger at any age.  Below is a short article from the Tuck Sleep Foundation on how to avoid drowsy driving.  Special thanks to the Tuck Sleep Foundation for allowing me to publish this post.

Avoid Drowsy Driving!

No matter how you look at it, drowsy driving is a huge problem. It causes at least 328,000 accidents every year, up to 6,000 of which involve fatalities. All of this costs us at least $109 billion dollars each year, and that number is the cost before you add in property damage. Beyond that, at least 43.2% of drivers admit that they have, at least once in their lives, fallen asleep at the wheel.

Drowsy driving is preventable. No one has to drive when they are tired. There are always other options, even if they are undesirable for one reason or another. In fact, there are many ways to avoid driving when you’re tired.

The easiest way to not drive when you’re tired is to get enough sleep. This can be rough to do, though, if you have a sleep condition (like sleep apnea), work a swing or another unusual shift, or have to drive as part of your job. However, there are still some things you can do.
Make sure your bed is comfortable.

If you struggle with insomnia, make sure your bed and your pillow are comfortable. You shouldn’t wake up sore or feel like you can’t get find a good position for sleep. If your bed is causing you pain, it probably means that it isn’t supporting your body correctly. Sometimes, a new mattress is all you need to get more sleep.
Practice good sleep hygiene.

Learn about what you need to do in order to fall asleep and stay asleep and practice those things regularly. It helps to have a sleep schedule that you follow every night, to keep televisions and other screens away from your bed and bedroom, and to have a ritual that you follow every night before bed.

Sometimes, you will need to get somewhere and circumstances will prevent you from sleeping before you drive. In these cases, try one of the following:

Take a caffeine nap.

Caffeine isn’t always a good solution to drowsy driving, but it can help you in the short-term. The problem is, it usually takes 20-30 minutes to kick in. Drink a cup of coffee, then take a quick nap. When you wake up, your caffeine should be at full strength and you should be able to drive for a couple of hours without feeling so tired.

Call an Uber.    

If you can’t take a nap and you are exhausted, it’s worth the money to have someone else drive you where you need to go. Sure, it’s not ideal, but you will arrive knowing no one will die on the way. And who knows? You may even catch a nap on the way!

There’s no excuse for drowsy driving. You don’t have the right to put yourself and others at risk. Put some of these practices in place, and you should sleep better. At the very least you will be able to drive for a while without endangering yourself or others.

For more on drowsy driving, please see the following links:

Information from AAA on the number of car accidents due to drowsy driving: 328,000 Accidents

Governors Highway Safety Association report on the cost of drowsy driving: $109 billion dollars

The way to better sleep: Your Bed

KRASA LAW, Inc. is located at 704-D Forest Avenue and Kyle may be reached at 831-920-0205.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only.  Reading this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship.  Before you act on any of the information presented in this article, you should consult a competent attorney who is licensed to practice law in your community.

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