Many drivers find themselves feeling overtired and even, in some cases, nodding off as they drive. An estimated 1/3 of all American adults are sleep deprived, so it is no surprise that drowsy driving is a common practice. It is also a dangerous practice, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimating that driver fatigue plays a role in about 20 percent of all traffic accidents in the United States.
An experienced Columbus Traffic Accidents & Winter-Safe Driving car accident lawyer in Columbus, OH knows that drowsy drivers are legally responsible for injuries that they cause to others. Driving while drowsy could be life changing if you get into an accident and you hurt yourself or you hurt or kill someone else who is in your car or on the road with you. It is important to do everything possible to avoid this kind of risk, which usually means that it is essential to make a commitment to get enough rest.
Sleep Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving
Many people don't get enough sleep because they don't leave themselves enough time to sleep. However, there are also a lot of habits that people have that interfere with the ability to get a good night's rest. Breaking those habits can have a huge impact on restfulness.
The Fiscal Times has provided some steps to take to try to get a better night sleep. If you find yourself struggling to get sufficient rest, you should:
- Turn off your tablet. When you use a smartphone, tablet or any kind of personal electronic device before bed, your brain is going to interpret that bright screen as being similar to sunlight. This means your brain is going to think you should be awake, and you'll have a harder time going to sleep.
- Avoid foods that affect sleep. Caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods can all make it harder for you to go to bed. Caffeine consumed within six hours of bedtime can interfere with your sleep cycle, and alcohol can wake you up during the night as the sugars metabolize in the body.
- Avoid exercising late at night. Exercise during the day is a good thing that can prime your body to get a good night sleep, but when you work out too vigorously at night it can make you too keyed up and you'll have a hard time going to bed on time.
- Stick to a steady sleep schedule. You will get a better night sleep if you go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day, including weekends. If you want to get some extra rest on weekends since you were too busy to sleep enough during the week, take a few little naps over your days off rather than sleeping late and messing up your schedule.
- Have a sleep study if you need one. A sleep study can identify why you aren't getting the rest that your body needs to avoid drowsy driving accidents.
These tips can help you to be more rested, which in turn will help you to be a safer driver. Making behavioral changes to get a better night sleep is typically a better solution than sleeping pills, which recent studies have shown may not be that effective since those who took pills in a National Institutes of Health study fell asleep just 20 minutes earlier than individuals given placebos. If you can get a good night sleep without sleeping pills, you will be healthier overall and less likely to get into a serious or even deadly auto accident.
If you or a loved one was hurt in an Ohio car crash, contact a car accident lawyer in Columbus, OH at the Smith Law office today. Call 800-930-SCOTT to schedule a free consultation.