A recent tragic accident in South Carolina claimed the lives of four people when an SUV ran off the I-95, and hit both a guard rail and a tree. According to news reports, the people who passed away were among a group traveling to Florida from New York and New Jersey to visit family in Florida over the winter holidays; other passengers in the car sustained injuries, including a broken wrist.
At this point, it isn’t clear what caused the crash, which occurred at around 6:15 a.m.; some, for instance,suspect that rain and fog might have increased the chances of an accident. However, another issue raised by the tragic crash is fatigue from long road trips.
Reducing the risk of fatigue
In this case, we don’t know if the driver of the SUV experienced fatigue. However, fatigue is generally a major problem during long trips, and might act as a contributing factor to an accident. Fatigue can slow reaction times on the road and cause drivers to nod off; even a few seconds of sleep might lead to a loss of control over the vehicle and a collision.
If you’re planning on taking a long road trip, what are some ways to combat fatigue?
- If possible, drive in shifts, rather than having the same driver at the wheel the entire time (especially if it’s a trip involving overnight driving).
- Avoid heavy or sugary foods, which can increase the chances of drowsiness. And steer clear of alcohol. Even if you think your blood alcohol content will remain below the legal threshold, alcohol is still a depressant.
- Map out regular stops for bathroom breaks and to get out of the car to stretch and walk around; try to get out of the car at least once every couple of hours.
- Chewing gum often helps people stay alert, as it keeps their mouth busy and keeps them from yawning. (You have to make sure to actively chew it, though, rather than just hold the gum in your mouth.)
- Make sure you don’t feel too stuffy and warm in the car.
- Avoid relying on cruise control.
- Regularly monitor yourself – don’t ignore signs of drowsiness behind the wheel. If you’re driving overnight, ask yourself if it’s necessary, and if you shouldn’t sleep at motel instead.
As Columbia personal injury attorneys, we urge you to take road fatigue seriously and get plenty of rest. Should you suffer an accident, don’t hesitate to contact us; however, with the right precautions, you’ll hopefully reduce your chances of a collision.