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Five tips to help avoid drowsy driving

Thursday, January 28, 2016

By: Tony Vinciguerra, Vice President, Risk & Safety, Element Fleet Management

When a driver is tired, their reaction time slows down, judgement is impaired and the chance of crashing increases. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving accounts for 100,000 crashes per year.

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Preventative methods are crucial to combat driver drowsiness and you help drivers in your fleet from becoming a statistic.

Here are five tips to help keep your drivers aware and alert when behind the wheel:

Establish a fatigue risk-management program

Programs like these include policies or practices to address personal habits outside of work, rest spaces and education. According to experts, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep in order to feel well-rested and productive.

Implement a logging system

Electronic logging devices that collect data on driver hours of service are vital to preventing drowsy driving. Has your driver been logging more hours than recommended? They may not be resting when they should.

Know the effects

The worst-case scenario of drowsy driving is that it leads to falling asleep at the wheel. But drowsy driving is dangerous even before a driver falls asleep. When tired, drivers may daydream and not notice distance traveled or the actions of nearby vehicles. They may also have a delayed reaction to sudden stops in traffic or an open car door too late.

Look for signs

It is easy to think that signs of sleepiness are to spot. Drowsy driving can start long before a driver begins rubbing their eyes, yawning or swerving out of their driving lane. Not efficiently preparing for daylight savings time, driving for extend periods of time without rest and driving down long, quiet roads can also signal or cause drowsiness.

Don't rely on stimulants

Caffeine-packed drinks like coffee and energy drinks, may help provide short-term energy but can lead to sudden energy crashes. Drivers should eat regular meals packed with energy boosting nutrients. Iron can help battle fatigue and mom's advice of not skipping breakfast still holds true.

Do you have tips for combating drowsy driving? Share them with me in the comments below.

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