Avoiding Driver Fatigue

While the National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation regarding the Bronx bus accident, killing 15 people in early March, many speculate that the accident occurred as a result of driver fatigue. Symptoms of driver fatigue include heavy eyelids, frequent yawning, daydreaming or feeling fidgety and irritable. A fatigued driver may drift over road lines, change vehicle speeds for no reason, and often misjudge traffic situations. Even if a driver falls asleep for four to five seconds, a car can travel up to 100 yards, resulting in fatal consequences. Delayed driver reaction time makes fatigue-related crashes more sever than others. In most cases, driver fatigue occurs while on long road trips. The average person needs seven or eight hours of sleep a night, so don’t skimp on sleep prior to a long drive. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages may be effective in the short term but are not a substitute for sleep. Also, fresh air and open windows have no lasting effect on your ability to stay awake. Don’t rely on the quick fix; plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and schedule breaks every two hours. Here are some other tips to take into consideration:

  • Don’t work a full day and drive for hours knowing you are tired
  • Don’t drink alcohol the night before driving as this may impair your judgment
  • Avoid driving during your normal sleep hours
  • Check your medication to see if it causes drowsiness, and plan your trip to avoid peak effects of medication
  • Share driving responsibilities with another on long trips

Most importantly, recognize and address sleepiness when it develops. Utilize rest areas on the highway or check in to a hotel. As a driver it is your responsibility to be alert at all times, so remember to plan ahead to ensure not only your own safety but also others on the road. Source: “Are We There Yet: Practical and Safe Vacation Travel Tips.” Injury Board Spring 2010: 17.

Dear Friends and Clients,

In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP