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Keeping your car in tip top condition is a good defense against accidents caused by faulty brakes, steering or other unmaintained elements of your car. People spend a lot of time, effort and money keeping their car in tip top condition. While this is very important, preventing accidents has more to do with the condition of yourself rather then the condition of your car.

Most accidents are in fact not caused by a faulty vehicle. The majority of accidents are caused by human error. Day dreaming, texting or speaking on your cell phone while driving and driver fatigue are some of the main culprits. While driving under the influence has long been known to be one of the most preventable causes of accidents, it is less well know that driver fatigue can be just as dangerous.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is pretty simple to understand. A drowsy driver is not focused and can make the same bad judgment calls on the road as an intoxicated driver. In addition, a tired driver’s reflexes are slow and he can not respond in the same way that he would when not tired.

Those at risk for Driver Fatigue

There are many people at risk for driver fatigue. If you work the night shift and drive home you are tired and will not be at your best for driving. Taxi drivers and other night drivers travel the roads when fatigued. If you stayed out all night and drive home in the morning you will similarly not be alert behind the wheel. However, long monotonous highways in the middle of the summer can have a dulling effect even on a rested driver. The arduous road conditions can play tricks on your mind causing you to “space out” while driving. The monotony and haziness from the hot weather can have a hypnotizing affect on many drivers.

What you can do

Clearly, your best defense against drowsy driving is to get a good night sleep before a long road trip. Similarly, if you work the night shift you should sleep sufficiently during the day. Eating well will also help as it will keep your energy levels up which helps your concentration. If you know these things aren’t possible, you may consider taking public transportation instead of driving your car when tired.

Keep in mind that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. If you drive, you operate a lethal weapon. It is your responsibility to be as alert and focused as possible to prevent accidents that can result in injury, damage or even death.

The author lost a friend to a car accident caused by driver fatigue. She subsequently started the site: