The risk for an auto accident increases around the holidays because more people are traveling to see loved ones or to take advantage of the extra days off to sneak in a last-minute vacation. They may be driving further distances, such as across the state or through multiple states. Drivers may travel for long periods of time without stopping to reach their destinations quickly.

One risk for holiday drivers is fatigued driving. This may mean they fall asleep at the wheel, or they may simply be less alert and not pay attention to their surroundings. It usually includes slower reaction times, which can lead to an accident.

The Dangers of Fatigued Driving

Labeled as a form of distracted driving, fatigued driving accounts for a minimum of 100,000 crashes each year. This includes around 1550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. Approximately one-third of drivers have fallen asleep while driving. Almost two-thirds have admitted to driving when they feel sleepy.

While other distractions are much easier to control, it’s more difficult to prevent your body from falling asleep. No matter how hard you try, your eyes begin to drift shut, or you stare at the road without really seeing what is in front of you. Since you are not actually asleep yet, you may feel you are still in control. However, most drivers plagued by fatigue will not notice details of their surroundings, such as other vehicles, animals or pedestrians.

How to Avoid Fatigued Driving Over the Holidays

It’s essential that you are aware of this risk, taking steps to prevent the issue before it occurs. Here are a few tips to help you stay awake and safe behind the wheel this holiday season.

  • Get a full night of sleep before leaving for your trip – if you plan to travel at night, take a nap the day before you leave.
  • Avoid eating foods which make you sleepy – in general, avoid heavy meals or drinking alcohol.
  • Set a comfortable temperature – if you get too hot or too cold, your body may adjust by shutting down and lulling you to sleep.
  • Take frequent breaks – switch drivers often or stop for a quick break if you’re the only driver. Get out of the vehicle and walk around to help wake you up.
  • Take a longer break to get a nap, so you are refreshed for the next portion of the trip.

Driving on long stretches of highway can lead to drowsiness even with a good night of sleep beforehand. Make sure you take the time to stop often just to give your eyes and body a break even if you aren’t sleepy. You don’t have to fall asleep behind the wheel to become a hazard on the road.

Protect yourself, your family and other drivers this holiday season by making sure you are alert and awake when you drive. Whether you are driving across the country or just across town, play it safe and don’t take any unnecessary risks. Arrive alive and safe even if it means you are a little late getting to your destination.

Call A New Orleans Car Accident Attorney For Help

Contact Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm by using our online contact form or by calling our office at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation.  We are here to help you when you need someone on your side who will protect your legal rights and put your best interest as the top priority.