Tips to Avoid Driver Fatigue
There are few things more frightening to a highway driver than the sight of a tractor trailer looming in the rear view window, or speeding by at an unnecessary and unsafe speed. But an even bigger concern is the driver that has not gotten enough sleep and falls asleep behind the wheel. Truck drivers work under unrealistic deadlines, and may choose a few more hours of driving over getting the sleep that they need. Tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and when that much weight is not being properly controlled, catastrophic accidents can occur. The Connecticut truck accident attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers caution truck drivers and everybody who gets behind the wheel to get enough rest and to avoid driving while fatigued. The most important tips to avoid driver fatigue are the ones that prevent you from driving when you are impaired by exhaustion. Here are our top recommendations to help you recognize when you need more sleep.
People who look for tips to avoid driver fatigue are ignoring an important scientific fact – if your body is tired, there is nothing you can do to avoid falling asleep. Your brain manufacturers chemicals that tell your body to rest, and you can only ignore them or fight them for a short period of time. You will eventually fall asleep, and no amount of coffee or singing, or any other trick is going to keep you awake. There are specific causes of driver fatigue, and these include not getting good quality sleep, not getting enough sleep, and driving when you would normally be asleep. In some cases, drivers may be suffering from a medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. This is an obstruction of the airway that causes them to wake up hundreds of times throughout the night, gasping for air, without ever being aware that it is going on.
One of the most important things that you can do to prevent yourself from driving while fatigued is to recognize the telltale signs. These can include:
- Excessive yawning
- Realizing that you have ‘lost time’ and are not aware of what has happened in the last few minutes
- Tired or heavy eyes
- Straying over the lane lines
- Impatience with other drivers or passengers in your car
When you are tired, your driving is severely compromised. Researchers have found that driving while extremely fatigued is comparable to driving while intoxicated. In fact, drivers who operate a vehicle after having been awake for 17 hours have the same level of impairment as having a blood alcohol of 0.05, and those who have been up for 24 hours are impaired at the same level of those who are at twice the legal blood alcohol concentration.
Driving while fatigued slows reaction time and leads to nodding off behind the wheel. It impacts judgment and makes it nearly impossible to concentrate. If you have been harmed by a truck driver who you believe may have been driving while fatigued, contact the Connecticut truck accident attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.