Whether traversing crowded city streets or fast-moving highways, commuters around Washington, D.C., often find themselves battling hazards while behind the wheel. This could be as simple as taking a sip of morning coffee or succumbing to a satisfying yawn after a hard day’s work. Unfortunately, actions like this can pull a driver’s focus and attention from the task at hand – safely navigating commuter traffic.
The dangers of drowsy driving
Drivers can often find themselves struggling while behind the wheel during either a morning commute or an evening commute. Either of these situations could lead to drowsy driving. Unfortunately, fatigued drivers can face:
- Impaired vision
- Blurred perception
- Slowed reaction times
- Disruptive microsleeps
Drivers might also have trouble recognizing the signs of fatigue as they differ for everyone. Signs might include:
- Trouble focusing and frequent blinking
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles driven
- Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
These symptoms are red flags. If you notice them, it’s time to take a break.
Strategies for prevention
Whether you are facing a lack of sleep due to personal stress, a reaction to strong medication or long hours at work, drowsy driving can be a common occurrence. This is especially true during the winter months when many employees feel they’re commuting to work in the dark and then coming back home in the dark as well.
For those who commute, consider carpooling or using public transportation when you’re short on sleep. This reduces the risk of drowsy driving and helps alleviate congestion on the roads.
Responsibility on the road
A collision caused by a fatigued driver can result in serious injuries such as brain trauma, spinal cord damage, paralysis or amputation. Severe crashes could result in vehicle occupant death. As a professional commuting in Washington, D.C., you know the importance of being alert and responsible behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is a serious concern, but with proper sleep, awareness of the warning signs and proactive planning, it’s preventable. Stay safe and ensure that you’re always driving with full attention and awareness. Your safety, and the safety of others, is paramount.