Driver fatigue is no joke and should always be taken seriously any time you intend to get behind the wheel. Did you know that driver fatigue is responsible for approximately 30% of all truck accidents involving commercial vehicles? Even if you are an experienced driver, understanding car safety tips and fatigue prevention tips can go a long way in ensuring your safety and well-being, especially during long road trips.

1. Ensure Adequate Rest

Sleeping well enough each night as you prepare for an upcoming trip is essential. Adequate sleep is vital to provide you with the energy necessary to drive from one location to another. Anytime you are planning to drive behind the wheel, you will only want to do so once you’ve ensured at least seven to nine hours of sleep the night before. The more sleep you get, the easier it will be for you to remain focused and alert any time you are on the road.

2. Hydration is Key

Drinking enough water is also imperative, especially when you are driving for any duration of time that is more than a few minutes. Staying hydrated does not simply mean consuming juices or soda. These drinks are much more likely to stem additional dehydration in the body when consumed, especially when driving over a few hours.

Anytime you are planning to drive to work or if you are planning an extended road trip, you will want to prepare a water supply. Ensuring fresh bottles of water at all times will prevent dehydration while allowing you to remain focused, alert, and aware of your surroundings anytime you get behind the wheel.

3. Share the Responsibility of Driving

If possible, consider sharing the responsibility of the driving you are doing with another passenger. This is especially helpful if you are currently in the process of planning a road trip. Choosing to share the responsibility of driving will allow you to spend more time focused on regaining your health, sleeping, and preserving your ability to focus when you need it most. Sharing the responsibility of driving is also a way for you to enjoy more of your trip, especially if you are currently on a sightseeing trip or a vacation road trip with friends and loved ones.

4. Take Breaks Regularly

Each year, more than 50,000 crashes take place in a parking lot in the U.S., according to CBS News. This means, that even if you are driving locally or attempting to find a park to stop and rest in a parking lot, you still have an increased risk of being involved in an accident. Taking breaks regularly will allow you to decompress without feeling overly tired or unable to think and focus any longer, which may also reduce your risk of a collision or any type of accident while you’re on the road.

5. Know the Signs of Driver Fatigue

In the US alone, there are more than 31,000 commercial tow truck drivers currently employed full-time, according to Zippia. Those drivers are required to understand the signs of driver fatigue, especially when driving for extended hours for work. Knowing when you need to take a break, when your body is getting drowsy, and even when you are lacking sleep in terms of mood can be crucial to help determine when it is time for you to take a break or rest.

Understanding the most important car safety tips to keep in mind is essential anytime you are driving, taking a trip, or if you’re a passenger in a vehicle. The more aware you are of your surroundings and how you are feeling at all times, the easier it will be to take action to reduce the risk of a potential crash or distraction. When you are aware of the signs of driver fatigue, you can plan and prepare ahead of time to keep fatigue at bay at all times.