Drowsy driving is a big problem

Drivers in New Mexico understand that there are risks on the road. In a recent survey by AAA, over 80% of people identified distracted driving as a serious issue. Americans all know about the risk of drunk driving, too. Fewer people are aware of the prevalence of drowsy driving and its effects. Drowsy driving is a component in up to 6,400 fatal car accidents annually. It’s a factor in over 320,000 non-fatal collisions also.

Driving while tired is common

Almost a third of the respondents to the AAA survey admitted to driving while struggling to stay awake in the past 30 days. About a fifth said they had done so multiple times. When people are very tired, their reaction time lags significantly. Drowsy driving and falling asleep at the wheel can have devastating consequences.

Tips for staying awake

The best way to stay awake behind the wheel is to get enough sleep at home. Although individual needs vary, most adults benefit from getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night. During a long drive, it’s important to take breaks. Stop every two hours, get some fresh air and maybe a coffee. If driving at night, keeping the window open to allow cool air into the car can also be beneficial.

Coffee and fresh air can help perk drivers up for a short time. That may be enough to get someone home safely if the drive is short. On longer drives, rest stops can provide an opportunity for a short nap if needed. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in which drowsy driving was a factor, contact a lawyer. For more on what to do after a car accident, please see our Car Accident FAQ.