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DWS (Driving While Sleeping) just as dangerous as DWI?

April 22, 2013 by The Parrish Law Firm

With our cruise control, comfortable seats, and music we may become a bit mesmerized while driving. Sometimes it may seem the car can almost do it for us! Beware; driving while fatigued is a very dangerous situation. You doze off for even a second, and you could end up risking your own life and even the lives of others. Ok, so it is serious we need to stay alert, but how do you do that? Once you sit in that big comfortable seat for long enough, it doesn’t matter how much sleep you got the night before.

That’s where we will start, the obvious first suggestion, get as much sleep as possible at night, you know the whole 8 hours thing. That may be foreign to some of you, with busy work schedules, kids, and whatever else may be consuming your life. I understand that, so here’s a few more suggestions to keep you alert and focused on the road.

Let’s start with your body, when driving long distances; your body goes through several areas of relaxation adjustment. As you begin to relax, your heart rate, circulation, and blood pressure begin to drop. This can lead you to doze off in the middle of the road.

To keep this process from occurring, reposition yourself, which may be all it takes to wake you up. This will increase your endorphin levels and decrease “road paralysis.” You know the feeling, when you’ve driven a given amount of miles and didn’t even realize it; you’re mentally awake but just going through the motions of driving. If moving around doesn’t work, try stopping for a snack or maybe even a power nap.

Now, for what you use to stay alert on the road, the mind. Music can be a good method to staying awake, as it can work your mind and lengthen your attention span. Be careful, because even a loud rock concert may not even be able to keep you from dozing off. Need some more suggestions to keep yourself entertained? Try things like talk radio, or books on tape, something you are interested in to make a long drive feel a little shorter.

Drive careful, and stay alert. Your life and the lives of others are at risk. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, an experienced attorney may be able to make a difference in your case. Contact Parrish Law Firm, PLLC for a free initial consultation or request your free copy of the Virginia Car Accident Guide.

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