Wakeup Call: Drowsy Driving is a Frequent Cause of Car Accidents
Poll reveals most Americans admit to drowsy driving despite knowing the risks.
Getting behind the wheel of a car when you're tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, far too many drivers do it anyway, putting themselves and others at risk of getting injured in a car accident.
According to a new survey by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) referenced in an article by HealthDay News, about 37 million Americans admit to driving at least once when they can barely keep their eyes open due to sleep deprivation.
"Drowsy driving is impaired driving," said Joseph Dzierzewski, the foundation's vice president of research and scientific affairs. "We see that while most Americans believe drowsy driving is risky, they still drive when not fully alert."
Drowsy driving statistics
Crashes caused by tired drivers often result in severe injuries and even fatalities. According to the NSF, up to 6,000 fatal car accidents are caused each year by drowsy drivers.
The NSF reports that drivers who have been awake for 18 hours have a reaction time similar to someone with a blood alcohol level of .05%. According to the NSF, people who miss one to two hours of the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night double their risk of being involved in a car accident.
That's why getting the rest you need before getting behind the wheel is critical.
Tips to avoid drowsy driving
To help prevent drowsy driving and the car accidents that often result from it, here are some tips to stay alert when behind the wheel:
- Get a good night's sleep before driving, preferably 8 hours or more.
- Take regular breaks while driving, or switch drivers if possible. Experts recommend doing this every 100 miles or every two hours.
- Avoid driving late at night when you're more likely to feel tired.
- Have an energy drink, coffee, or snack to give yourself a boost.
When someone chooses to drive drowsy, their reflexes, judgment, and decision-making ability are all drastically impaired. This can cause them to make poor choices on the road or fall asleep at the wheel, which could lead to a serious or fatal collision.
Signs that you may be too tired to drive
If you find yourself feeling tired while behind the wheel, it's important to recognize that continuing to drive may put yourself and others in danger. Signs that you may be too tired to drive a car include:
- Constant yawning
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Daydreaming or difficulty focusing on the road
- Missing exits or traffic signs
- Wandering thoughts or inability to remember the last few miles driven
- Drifting between lanes or onto the shoulder of the road
If you have any of these symptoms, it's best to stop and take a break before you cause a serious crash.
How a car accident lawyer can help if you were hit by a drowsy driver
If you've been involved in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related damages. The key is to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to review your options. A car accident attorney can help you understand your legal rights, gather evidence of the other driver's negligence, and advise you on the best course of action to pursue the compensation you deserve.
At Recht Law Offices, our car accident lawyers have experience handling complex cases involving drowsy driving crashes. We understand the legal complexities associated with proving liability in these cases and will leave no stone unturned to find the facts that matter to your claim.
To learn more about how our law firm can help you, contact us today for a free consultation. Our office is in Weirton and we proudly handle cases in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.