Fortunately for the majority of college students, the most dreaded time of the year – finals – has come and gone. Weeks spent arduously pouring over notes and past lectures, writing page after page for that perfect essay or dissertation, and getting those final labs completed has finally come to a much sought after end. While many college students look forward to the completion of the seemingly endless studying and the ability to start sleeping again, most choose to first celebrate the end of finals by spending time with family and going out with friends. However, this comes at a time when the parties and celebrations are only starting with the beginning of the holidays. As a result, January is often a time when college students and others alike are trying desperately to catch up on much-needed rest.
Unfortunately, while in this sleep-deprived state that finals and the holidays often create, college students could be putting themselves and others at a much greater risk of being involved in a car accident due to driving while drowsy. Although many people understand the dangers that accompany drowsy driving, the AAA Foundation reports that nearly 33% of Americans continue to drive when they are sleep-deprived.
As a result, it is estimated that one in six car accidents are the result of a drowsy driver operating their vehicle, with many of these accidents resulting in serious injuries, costly property damage, and victims taking legal action with the help of a car accident lawyer. Fortunately, there are steps that drivers can take to prevent these accidents from occurring. Some ways to decrease your chances of being involved in a drowsy driving accident include the following:
- Be aware of the signs that may indicate that you are becoming too tired to drive. These signs include difficulty focusing, trouble focusing on the road/not daydreaming, missing signs/turns/exits, having trouble keeping your head up or eyes open, swerving repeatedly, and having difficulty remembering the previous miles driven. If you notice these signs, you should pull over to rest.
- Take a break frequently – depending on how long you are driving and how tired you are, you should stop at frequent intervals (anywhere from every 20 minutes to every 2 hours) to rest, take a break, grab some food, or walk around. This can keep you engaged and awake.
- Drive with a friend for long distance trips – if you are taking a drive that extends for more than a few hours or couple hundred miles, you should seriously consider bringing a friend with you so that you can switch drivers throughout the trip. This not only gives you a break from the monotony of driving, but it also allows you to sleep/rest during your break.
- Avoid sugary caffeine drinks – while some people think that sugary drinks will help wake them up, the effects of these beverages are short lived, and can cause a driver to crash later on.
It may be impossible to avoid driving while tired after this hectic time of year; however, by taking these and other preventative actions, you can better keep yourself and others on the road safe.