Ways to prevent driver fatigue

People in New Mexico who drive while overtired greatly increase the chances of being in an accident. Fatigue is a big factor in crashes, and it is important to get adequate rest before going out on the road, whether you are a commercial truck driver or the driver of a personal car, motorcycle or other vehicle.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers should pay attention to the signs of drowsiness, which include blurred vision, eyes that feel heavy and recurrent yawning. Obviously, getting enough sleep is important before getting behind the wheel. Studies have shown that being short on sleep has similar effects to having a blood alcohol content of .08, which is considered to be intoxicated in most states. Drivers who are tired are encouraged to pull over to a safe location and take a short nap that lasts no more than 45 minutes.

Poor nutrition is also a factor in fatigue. Eating at regular intervals and including healthy items, like lean meats, fruit and nuts, will help keep energy and mood levels stable. Staying away from certain medications can help prevent drowsiness. Common medications that should be avoided before driving include:

  • Cold meds
  • Sleeping pills
  • Tranquilizers
  • Allergy pills 

Having a rest is a much smarter plan than taking caffeine, blasting the radio or opening the window, as these only give drivers a false sense of safety.

Some vehicles, especially large trucks, now have technological devices that help prevent collisions. According to CNN, a forward collision warning is the most common system found. This detects objects and alerts the driver via sound and lights. With some systems, the vehicle will even brake for the driver. Other warning systems may include lane departure, steering adjustment and body movement warnings. 

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