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How to identify and combat drowsy driving

Whether you are on a long road trip or driving home after an exceptionally long day at work, drowsiness can become a safety issue while you're behind the wheel. Driving drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, not only for you but for others on the road. While some people swear by certain tricks, like riding with the windows down or turning up the radio, these methods are not foolproof and don't work for everyone.

It is important to know the signs of drowsiness and to recognize them when they appear. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe the next time you feel sleepy behind the wheel:

Signs of drowsiness

Unfortunately, it is not always obvious to drivers that they might be too tired to operate a vehicle. However, there are some signs you should be aware of any time you are driving.

First, if you have problems focusing or find that your eyelids feel heavy or you are perhaps blinking more than usual, you are most likely too drowsy to drive. Also, if you begin daydreaming or your thoughts start to wander excessively, it could be time to pull over and get some rest.

Other signs to watch for include missing exits, turns or traffic signs, continuous yawning, drifting out of your lane and feelings of restlessness or irritability.

Keep yourself in top driving shape

Driving is a complex activity that requires the vehicle operator to make multiple decisions and physical acts often simultaneously. For example, you must constantly judge what traffic is doing around you and slow down, speed up or even swerve to avoid another driver or an object in the road.

Being tired can affect your decision-making and reaction time which might result in a car accident. To avoid drowsy driving, be sure to get enough sleep the night before or take a quick nap before you get on the road. Also, on a long trip, schedule time to pull over for a quick nap.

Another method to help you handle a road trip is to use the buddy system. Have someone else in the car with you so that the two of can switch off every two hours and avoid driver fatigue. Other ways to keep yourself ready for a safe drive include not rushing, avoiding alcohol and driving during the hours that you are normally awake.

While these can help you get to your destination safely, there could be other people on the road who do not practice the same safe driving habits. If you have been the victim of a car accident with a reckless or negligent driver, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries and other damages.

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