3 Ways to Prevent Falling Asleep at the Wheel
For people traveling cross-country by car, or for those whose job requires that they drive long hours, fighting against the seduction of sleep can become a literal battle for your life.
After all, the CDC estimated roughly 800 deaths occurred in 2013 as a result of drivers falling asleep behind the wheel, not including a further 72,000 crashes caused by drowsy driving.
It’s nothing to dismiss and it’s especially a problem for those unaccustomed to driving while exhausted. This is, also, an issue for California drivers.
Luckily, there are steps that can be taken. By following some of the advice laid out below, you might avoid the allure of sleep while behind the wheel of a vehicle. You might even save your own life.
If you do end up falling asleep while driving, there can be some major consequences. Your health, your money, and your legal freedom might be at risk. If this happens to you, getting in contact with an accident attorney should be your first step. You owe it to yourself to get the best legal guidance you can find. No one knows these kinds of situations like car accident lawyers.
1. Take Care of Your Health & Sleep Quality
Your sleep and your health are intricately tethered. If you aren’t getting enough sleep every night, your body will not function properly. Likewise, if your body and mind are unhealthy, your sleep cycle will suffer.
This can create a thorny, vicious, repeating pattern. The more sleep you lose, the more your physical body will suffer, which will just compound the problem. Lack of sleep has been shown to lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart disease. And the more sleep deprived you are, the higher your chances of falling asleep behind the wheel becomes.
Therefore, stabilizing your health is the number one preventative to falling asleep behind the wheel.
Watching what you eat and drink can make a world of difference when it comes to your health. Avoiding food and drinks high in sugar, as well as foods with lots of refined carbs, will impact your health greatly and in a positive way.
Exercising regularly will also lead to dramatic improvements in your health and, likewise, your sleep. Physical exercise has massive positive benefits to both your body and your brain, and should be done regularly.
Just as you can improve your physical health, you are able to improve your sleep health. Doing things like avoiding light late at night and limiting your nap time can help regulate your sleep cycle.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, there are various things you can do for yourself. Calming your mind via relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation is known to do wonders for your sleep. Reading, drinking tea, or listening to soft music are also viable strategies.
Just like your physical health, your sleep health is also something that might take time to improve. With patience and practice, both sides of your health can see positive strides. Once your overall health has improved, the threat of falling asleep behind the wheel greatly decreases.
2. Consume Caffeine
It’s easy for caffeine to become someone’s best friend. Caffeine exists in coffee, teas, and various energy drinks, and works by dilating the blood vessels in the brain, which allows extra blood and oxygen to flow into the brain.
This wakes your brain up. It gets things moving in your body, gets your heart pumping, and most importantly, keeps you awake. Caffeine can be just the thing a sleep-deprived driver might need.
Caffeine might be that saving grace, especially needed for jobs that require their employees to drive long distances, over long stretches of time.
As well, caffeine might also come in handy for those whose jobs make them have to commute in the early hours of the day or the late hours of the night, or if someone has to drive far distances, every single day, to get to their job.
Planning ahead is the key here. If you know you have to drive long distances or drive incredibly early or extra late, bring a caffeinated drink of some kind with you. A to-go coffee cup, a canned energy drink, or a travel cup for tea can be just what a driver needs to avoid falling asleep behind the wheel.
3. Take a Break If You Need To
It’s easy for everyday life to transform into a non-stop hustle. Taking a break from that hustle might seem sacrilege to some, but it’s an option that everyone should know they are able to take advantage of.
Long drives should always come with time made to stop the car and take a break. Getting out of the vehicle and stretching, using the bathroom, or simply letting the mind relax after being active and focusing on the road is a must.
As well, if you find yourself feeling the overwhelming urge to sleep overcome you while you’re behind the wheel, there’s nothing wrong with pulling over your vehicle. The shoulder of the road exists for a reason. If you need to use it, don’t hesitate. Pull your vehicle over, and take as much time as necessary before you feel you are ready to continue driving.
If needed, drivers shouldn’t be afraid to stop driving, park their vehicle somewhere, and get some sleep. While this may seem like a lot to ask someone whose job it is to drive, your own life and wellbeing should always be prioritized. Taking the time to get some sleep will always be a preferable option to risking your life.
Get the California Legal Help You Deserve
Driving can be a major part of a person’s life. It can be a daily part of a job’s commute or be the job itself.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always make time for sleep, and if you’re lacking sleep, driving can become a serious hazard. Lack of sleep can and will cause a car accident.
If you or a loved one were involved in an accident caused by someone who fell asleep behind the wheel, get in touch with the Law Offices of Tawni Takagi by calling (310) 954-7248.
With tons of experiences handling cases like yours, we can give you the legal help and guidance you are owed.