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Avoiding the 4Ds: Drowsy, Distracted, Drugged, Drunk Driving

Impaired driving is probably the greatest risk on the road. Anything that prevents a driver from thinking clearly and responding quickly to circumstances will increase the risk of an accident.

At DC Law, we have met with many clients who have been injured by drowsy, distracted, drugged, or drunk drivers. Because we all have a duty to make the roads safer, we offer these tips for avoiding the 4 dangerous Ds.

Get Enough Sleep to Avoid Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving can have many causes—illness or prescription drug use among them, but lack of sleep is the primary reason people get drowsy behind the wheel and end up losing control. A tired driver can not only fall asleep, but he or she will also exercise poor judgment.

Try not to drive long distances without a full night’s rest. If your trip is especially long, then break up the trip into two days and sleep in a motel. If you are visiting distant family, then spending the night and leaving early in the morning is your best bet.

Avoid trying to counteract fatigue with caffeine. Although this works as a short-term fix, it really does nothing to address the underlying fatigue. Many drivers will end up feeling even more tired after a couple of cups of coffee and will fall asleep shortly thereafter.

Put Away Your Phone to Reduce Distracted Driving

There are many sources of distraction, including:

  • Young children
  • Pets
  • Eating food
  • Using a GPS device

But the largest source of distraction is, by far, your phone. Too many people text or email when their vehicle is moving and they should have their eyes on the road.

To protect yourself, put the phone somewhere where you can’t reach it. Ideally, you can lock it in the trunk of the car—which makes it accessible, but only after you have stopped the vehicle. If you put the phone in your glove compartment box, by contrast, we are afraid many people will still be tempted to reach over and grab it while driving.

Be Careful of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs

Many drugs induce sleepiness as a side effect, sometimes when taken in combination with other drugs. Always read the label to see if drowsiness is a side effect. If so, try to limit your driving while taking the drug. Instead, you can take public transportation or hire an Uber or Lyft.

Have a Designated Driver

Drunk driving is still a serious problem. Although distracted driving now gets most of the media’s attention, alcohol continues to cause over 1,000 fatalities in Texas each year. This about double the number of fatalities caused by distracted driving.

Drunk driving is easily avoidable. Make sure that if you are going out to drink that you designate a driver who will remain sober for the entire night. If you are going out alone, ask someone to get you a cab.

Remember not to falsely believe that drinking alcohol is no big deal if you are eating a meal. Many people end up showing signs of impairment well before they believe they have a problem.

Contact an Austin Car Accident Attorney

Serious car collisions warrant serious legal help. At DC Law, we have built our reputation representing injured car accident clients. We have the legal experience necessary to obtain full compensation for your losses, with hundreds of happy clients.

To schedule a free case review, please call 512-220-1800.