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Fatigued Driving

It’s Daylight Saving Time: Prevent Fatigued Driving with These 5 Tips

This weekend is Daylight Saving Time, followed by Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Did you know that you are three times more likely to be in a vehicular accident if you are fatigued?

Fatigued driving is a prevalent issue in the busy lifestyle of many Americans, especially when it comes to commercial drivers. And with Daylight Saving Time looming around the corner, darker evening commutes may augment fatigue.

It’s important to be aware of the risks and causes of fatigued driving, including:

  • Inadequate sleep
  • Strenuous physical or mental activity
  • Sleep disorders
  • Changes in daily routine

These factors can affect your circadian rhythm, the natural sleep-wake cycle, and ultimately result in reduced alertness behind the wheel.

The Risks of Fatigued Driving

Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigued driving causes 100,000 police-reported crashes, 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in losses. These estimates are likely much lower than the real picture due to the lack of transparency and testing processes when it comes to those involved in the accidents.

The most dangerous risks associated with fatigued driving accidents are those that involve commercial motor vehicles. Due to their size and weight, they are more likely to cause costly damage and more severe injuries to those involved.

How to prevent fatigued driving

1. Recognize the signs of fatigued driving

The first step to preventing fatigued driving incidents is identifying the warning signs. Common indications include the following:

  • Yawning
  • Frequent blinking
  • Foggy memory or disconnected thoughts
  • Missing an exit or turn
  • Drifting lanes or hitting the rumble strips

If you’re experiencing any these signs, pause your travels until you are well rested.

2. Commit to being well rested

Preventing fatigued driving requires you to be alert and properly rested. Sleep experts recommend the average adult should get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. This is best done by establishing a nightly routine and committing to it. When you live by a consistent sleep schedule, you recharge your body physically and mentally.

3. Abide by the Hours of Service

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration recognizes the risks associated with fatigued driving and established Hours of Service Regulations. These regulations limit property-carrying drivers to 11 hours of driving each day within a 14 hour period.

Under these regulations, drivers must also take 10 consecutive hours off duty before driving again, and they may not drive after logging 60/70 hours on duty or driving dependent upon their ruleset. In order the reset that limit, the driver must take 34 consecutive hours off duty.

4. Practice safe driving strategies

To minimize the effects of fatigued driving, an emphasis should also be placed on practicing safe driving habits. When a vehicle is in motion, keep your eyes moving. You should constantly be looking ahead and checking your mirrors to maintain a 360-degree view of your vehicle. Sleepiness also affects your reaction time and decision-making ability, so it’s vitally important you limit or eliminate all distractions to ensure you mind your speed, following distance and roadway awareness.

5. Avoid utilizing alertness “tricks”

Drivers tend to rely on alertness tricks to prevent fatigue, but these tricks are not a real cure for fatigue and are more likely to cause a false sense of security. Instead of turning up the radio, drinking coffee, or opening a window for some fresh air, pull over and allow your brain to rest.

Stay safe

For more information on Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, visit: https://drowsydriving.org/.

For assistance with safe transportation of waste or emergency response, reach out to EnviroServe at (800) 488-0910! Our Team specializes in “when you need us, where you need us” service with 30 years of experience over the road.