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AAA: Driving drowsy is impaired driving

With the summer travel season right around the corner, trips can be longer than usual. You must stay awake and you must stay prepared for whatever may come your way.
Credit: Nixon Norman
With summer travel season around the corner, there are a couple things you need to do to prepare.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — When it comes to driving, it's best, "to keep our hands on the wheel, our eyes on the road and our mind focused on driving," said AAA Alabama Public Relations Representative, Clay Ingram.

But it's impossible to do all three when driving impaired.

Impaired driving doesn't always mean driving under the influence. Distracted driving or driving while drowsy are also forms of impaired driving. 

"It's just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As far as the level of danger, now, it's a different type of danger. But the level of that danger is the same, and we want it to become socially unacceptable, just as drinking and driving has become in recent years," said Ingram. 

If you do find yourself becoming sleepy on a long trip, there are a couple of things you can do: "If you're on a long trip, maybe take turns and let somebody else in the vehicle drive if possible. But at the very least, stop occasionally, get out, walk around, you know, maybe get something to eat or drink, but kind of change your focus for a few minutes and get refreshed and then get back behind the wheel," said Ingram. 

It's important to keep yourself in check while driving but it's also very important to keep your car in check before you make any kind of long trip. 

"About 90% of us that go somewhere on vacation do so in our automobile. So the roads are going to be crowded and it's going to be hot. So the number one thing to remember about that is to get your car checked out ahead of time by a certified technician," said Ingram. 

Because we all know breakdowns never occur at an ideal time... So, it's best to be prepared.

"It's very important to keep some type of emergency kit in your vehicle, not just during the wintertime, but year-round," said Ingram. 

Whether you're preparing for your next road trip or the next season, it's a good idea to take inventory of the items in your car emergency kit. AAA recommends having an emergency kit in your vehicle and provides this list of things to include and tips on where to stow them. Be sure to replenish any depleted items as needed.

  • Cell phone and car charger (glove compartment)
  • First-aid kit (glove compartment)
  • Blanket (luggage area)
  • Drinking water/snacks for everyone in the car including pets (some in glove compartment, the rest in the luggage area)
  • Flashlight with extra fresh batteries
  • Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes
  • Basic set of tools along with duct tape and car emergency warning devices such as road flares or reflectors (luggage area)
  • Ice scraper/snow brush
  • Jumper cables/jump pack
  • Traction aid such as sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter
  • Tarp, raincoat and gloves
  • Shovel

Also, taking place this Saturday, April 15, 2023, don't miss your chance to receive information, advice and first-hand experiences from AAA  travel advisors for free!

The AAA Travel Show will be held from 9 am to 1 pm at The Westin Hotel at 6800 Governors W, NW, Huntsville, AL 35806.

AAA Travel Specialists will be available to chat about your next adventure or dream destination.

It's the perfect way to figure out all your summer travel plans in one stop - under one roof.

Credit: AAA

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