Stay Out Of Trouble On The Roads This Fall With These Top Tips
Nobody wants to be involved in an accident. But getting into trouble is all too easy. As the weather changes, and temperatures start to drop, we’re heading into peak accident season. And so now, more than ever, you should be taking care on the roads.
But what does that really mean? Does the science tell us anything about what actually helps us to avoid accidents?
Recently, scientists at Loughborough wanted to find out whether dehydration affected driving. Unsurprisingly, they concluded that it did. But that wasn’t the headline-grabbing statistic to come out of the study. The real surprise was the driving while dehydrated caused drivers to make as many mistakes as if they were under the influence. The researchers suggested that this might explain why so many hungover drivers make mistakes. It’s not the alcohol, per se; it’s the dehydration that heavy drinking sessions cause.
On top of that, there’s the problem of tiredness. Nothing is worse than mile after mile of boring highway driving. It’s enough to send most people to sleep. And it really does. According to the RAC, one in twenty drivers suffer from sleep apnea, and this can cause them to nod off suddenly.
This then goes on to cause additional problems. For instance, if you have an accident resulting from an undisclosed health issue, you could be found legally responsible. It could mean that you lose your license or even worse.
Then there’s the problem of alcohol. The latter part of the year is traditionally the time when the police step up their roadside breathalyzing efforts. And this is when drivers can find themselves getting on the wrong side of the law. Many will be breathalyzed and found to be over the legal limit. Police departments will then press charges.
According to an attorney at Mace Law, being charged doesn’t always mean that you’ll be convicted. Sure, your blood alcohol level might be slightly over the legal limit. But breathalyzers only have a limited degree of accuracy. If you’re within 10 percent of the legal limit, you can make the case that you weren’t in fact over the limit when you were stopped. Of course, when it comes to driving, it’s probably best to steer well clear of the booze.
A final issue that lies behind many accidents on the road is, strangely enough, sleeping pills. Professor Russell Foster from Oxford University explains why. He says that sleeping pills aren’t all that great for you. They prevent you from going into what the experts call “slow-wave” sleep. And this then means that people often end up feeling a lot more tired than they would have done if they had just gone without. Problems usually arise when people go for a long drive the following day. So, if you’ve been using sleeping pills, it’s probably best to go without the night before a long road trip.
The Professor warns that, even though sleeping pills are legal, that doesn’t mean that escape responsibility in a crash. You’re responsible for what you put into your body. And you’re also responsible for the consequences.