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3 tips to conquer sleepy driving

Drowsy driving is the cause of numerous car accidents, injuries and deaths every year in Maryland and the rest of the United States. In fact, many accidents caused by sleepy or fatigued drivers are never reported because it's difficult for police to identify the signs of a driver who is sleep-deprived.

Tired Female Driver.jpg

So, how do we stay awake behind the wheel? Although the best tip is to get plenty of sleep and rest before you drive, the following tricks and techniques may serve you well if you find you're yawning and having a hard time keeping your eyes open while driving.

1. Take plenty of breaks

If you're driving down the highway and your eyelids are getting heavy, take a break. Pull over into a gas station or rest stop. Stretch. Walk around. Do some squats, jumping jacks or pushups. Do anything physical that will help get the blood moving in your body. Also, consider taking a power nap while parked in a safe location. These few minutes of rest could save your life and the lives of others on the road.

2. Drink more caffeine

Drinking caffeine is not an appropriate substitute for sleep, but if you can't keep your eyes open, a cup of coffee, soda pop or something else that contains a lot of caffeine -- the more, the merrier -- could break you out of a sleepy spell in no time flat. Two cups of coffee can increase your focus and alertness for two or more hours.

3. Don't drive while drunk or on medication

Everyone knows that alcohol -- no matter how little -- is a dangerous combination with driving. However, numerous seemingly innocuous medications are also dangerous to combine with driving. Even certain antibiotics could leave you too spacey and too drowsy to safely operate your vehicle. Simply put, don't take medications, drink or do any kind of drug before you get behind the wheel.

Were you injured by a sleep-deprived driver?

If you were hurt by a sleep-deprived driver, you might be able to prove it in court and force the driver to pay your financial compensation for damages. There may be ways to show that a driver was sleep-deprived and dangerously chose to get behind the wheel even though it was unsafe to do so. For example, people the driver lives with could be subpoenaed in court to testify that the driver failed to get a proper night's rest. In the case of a truck driver, his or her rest log might show that he or she did not reserve enough time for rest.

If a fatigued driver hurt you, don't let the matter fall flat. Educate yourself about your legal rights and assert those rights in court if necessary.

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