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How to Avoid Falling Asleep At the Wheel

How to Avoid Falling Asleep At the Wheel

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2011
It is estimated that more than 1,500 deaths each year are attributed to driver fatigue, and sadly nearly all of those are preventable if drivers were aware of five simple steps to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.
1. Do not get behind the wheel without proper rest. Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Without sleep, a person's sleep debt builds up. Before venturing out on a drive, ensure that you have had several consecutive nights of comfortable sleep.
2. Arrive at the destination before midnight. Your body has an internal 'clock' that knows when it needs rest that time is usually between midnight and early morning. Driving during this period is especially dangerous, as subconsciously, your body wants to sleep.
3. Listen to your body. Most people will yawn or briefly lose their attention when they are getting tired. If you cannot remember the last few seconds of driving, or you feel your eyelids getting heavy, pull over immediately and get some rest.
4. Take periodic breaks from driving. Your body does not enjoy sitting behind the wheel for hours on end. Every hour or so, stop the vehicle, take in some fresh air, and stretch. A 20-minute nap may seem insignificant, but it can do wonders to recharge your body.
5. Drink plenty of cold water. Cold fluids will keep your body hydrated and fresh as an added benefit, the additional bathroom stops give you another reason to take a break from driving.
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