HAVE A CLEAR HEAD
Make sure you always have a clear head before deciding to operate a motor vehicle. Alcohol and certain drugs, both illegal and legal, can severely impair your ability to drive. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause dangerous drowsiness. Get a good night's rest and don't drive for long stretches without a break. If you are tired, don't risk the safety of yourself and others on the highway by trying to drive. Just as with alcohol–designate a driver or choose another means of transportation such as a taxi cab or public transportation.
LIMIT DRIVING ALONE WHEN TIRED
Driving with someone else in your vehicle can increase your overall alertness. It is well recognized that when driving alone, especially when sleep deprived and at night, your chances of a crash are dramatically increased.
READ THE LABELS
If you are taking any medications, be sure to read and obey the warning labels. If the label says the medication causes drowsiness or not to drive–heed the warning and don't drive. The warnings are there for a reason. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or to ask about medications for your condition that don't cause drowsiness.
Allow yourself plenty of extra time to reach your destination and allow for emergencies or traffic jams. In today's busy world most of us are in a hurry to get where we are going. By allowing extra time we can be more relaxed when operating our vehicles and thereby cut down on the incidences of road rage, such as excessive speeding, tailgating and weaving in and out between cars.
Avoid aggressive driving by relaxing and having patience. By not being in such a rush to reach your destination you will be a calmer person and won't need to speed and run red lights. A yellow light means slow down, not speed up. Always stop at red lights.
BE ALERT TO SIGNS OF FATIGUE
If you start to feel tired when driving pull over in a safe area and let someone else drive. If you are alone, pull into a safe location such as a well lit rest stop and take a short nap or get out of the car and walk around for a few minutes. Stop as often as necessary. When traveling on long trips, eat light. Large, heavy meals can make you drowsy.
Craig Penrod has been certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a criminal law specialist. The Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for more than 20 years.