News headlines provide a constant reminder of just how dangerous drowsy driving is. In the past month, for example, a 20-year-old driver from Lake George, N.Y., was traveling on I-87 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at about 1 a.m. when, according to police, she fell asleep. The vehicle struck a guard rail, left the roadway and rolled over several times. The driver and two passengers, also in their 20s, suffered injuries but survived, the North County Gazette reported. They were lucky.
Here are some tips, taken from the California Driver Handbook, on staying alert behind the wheel. You may want to pass these along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder, especially before a long road trip.
When you are tired, you are less alert. The body naturally wants to sleep at night, and most drivers are less alert at night, especially after midnight. You may not see hazards as soon, or react as quickly, so your chances of having a crash are greater. If you are sleepy, the only safe cure is to get off the road and get some sleep.
To keep from getting tired on a long trip:
- Get at least a normal night's sleep before you start.
- Don't take any drugs that can make you drowsy.
- Don't drive long hours, and try not to drive late at night.
- Take regular rest stops, even if you are not tired.
- Keep shifting your eyes from one part of the road to another. Look at objects near and far, left and right.
- Try chewing gum or singing along with the radio.
- Roll your window down, and get some fresh air. If you are tired all the time and fall asleep often during the day, ask your physician to check for a sleep disorder.