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Friday, September 2, 2011

Do it For Your Dog: Don't Drive Drowsy

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© Carrie Boyko
Prevent Drowsiness
 with Your Favorite Starbucks Drink

September 6, 2011 is the kickoff of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week at Florida State University. Having just driven home from a pet bloggers conference way up in Virginia, I saw many a safety infraction along the way. Of course, as always, my thoughts were on the dogs. I can't imagine the heartbreak if I fell asleep at the wheel and Oliver were hurt.

© Carrie Boyko
Safe and Secure in a
Crash-Tested Seatbelt
Sure, Oliver traveled snugly in a steel crate with a cushy bed, which is about as safe as you can offer a dog in your car. Another excellent option is a crash-tested safety belt like Tanner uses. This is not one of the cheapo models you find in discount stores. It's made with real metal and real seat belt webbing. It connects to your car's seat belt and offers fittings to secure Fido to a cargo tie down also. This works great when your pup needs to travel behind the rear seat where a seat belt is not available. 

Let's get back to drowsy driving safety now. Signs of a drowsy driver may be slow driving or weaving, but often this issue is not as evident as law enforcement would like. Those who are most prone to the problem, according to, are teens with less driving experience, commercial drivers, shift workers, people with untreated sleep disorders and business travelers who are fighting the effects of time changes.

When you're driving, whether it be alone or with companions, you should constantly be aware of your mental state. Here are some tips for self-evaluating your own drowsiness status:

  • Trouble focusing, keeping your eyes open or your head up
  • Yawning or rubbing your eyes repeatedly
  • Daydreaming and wandering thoughts
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating and missing signs or exits
  • Feeling restless, irritable or aggressive
  • Turning up the radio or rolling down the window
  • Slower reaction time, poor judgment

What can you do to help yourself drive safer under sleep-deprived conditions? For starters, think Starbucks. Yes, I'm suggesting caffeine! You can get a cup of coffee, an energy drink, or a caffeinated beverage at most convenience stores. You might also consider that food is often an aid to alertness. Pick up some snacks that are rich in protein and complex carbs, a combination that will often help your brain remain alert longer.

Finally, consider traveling with a friend or family member. Take turns driving and stop often to walk or refuel your gut. Get a good conversation going, or conversely turn on some tunes or listen to an audio book. 

If you drive often under conditions involving sleep deprivation, you may want to give this topic a little extra attention by visiting the National Road Safety page, where you'll find all sorts of resources, videos, discussion guides and information on drowsy driving and much more. If not for yourself, do it for your dog. He'll need you around for years to come; drive safe.

Today's post is part of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop hosted by Life with DogsTwo Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume. Feel free to enjoy visiting different sites. Rules to link up follow, as copied from Life with Dog's site on 8/10/11:

Link up your pet blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add your link once to be seen on all the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week. Note that if your blog is not pet related your link will be removed. Also note that only one post per blog is acceptable, and links promoting giveaways that are unrelated to the pet blogger hop will be removed. This is a community building exercise and not a promotional vehicle – please treat it as such.
Grab the “Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop” button on the right hand side of this site and include it in your Saturday Blog hop post so that your readers will know what is going on. *Note – posting is optional. Feel free to just link and follow.
Follow your co-hosts listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool.
Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you’d like.
Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from the blog hop.
Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.
Make friends and grow. ♥


bichonpawz said...

Excellent post Carrie!! Very good information!!

Sage said...

You are right on with this post! It doesn't take much to find bad drivers, but sleepy ones are dangerous!

Daisy's Mom said...

So agree! I think in our society we are often driving while sleep-deprived. My biggest concern has always been my pets. That's enough to get me off the road, if needed. Need to check out that seat belt too!
Happy Hopping!

Dawn said...

Very scary. I've driven drowsy once and was lucky enough to have gotten away with it, barely. Never again. If I am that tired, I have and will pull over to take a nap. BTW, I love the Starbucks image above. If you're driving and tired at the wheel, stop and relax at a Starbucks!

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