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The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Driving while drowsy can prove to be exceptionally dangerous. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), exhausted driving causes over 100,000 collisions, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths every year.
Drowsy driving is defined as the operation of a motor vehicle while tired, fatigued, or sleepy. Despite the dangers associated with tired driving, many forego the warnings and continue to do so. Understanding the risks of drowsy driving could protect you and your loved ones from car accidents involving an exhausted driver.
Drowsy Driving Can Have Serious Consequences
According to the CDC, staying awake for 24 hours could have the same effect on a driver as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent. It is important to note that this number is significantly higher than the legal BAC limit in all U.S. states.
Exhausted driving may cause difficulty focusing, delayed reaction times, poor judgment, the inability to assess distances and speeds, and falling asleep at the wheel. Because these side effects can alter a driver’s ability so severely, serious and life-changing collisions may occur.
Potential Indicators of Drowsy Driving
A person’s age and gender, as well as the time of day they are driving, can all be risk factors when it comes to exhausted driving. Sleepy driving can affect people of all ages, but this behavior is most common among drivers between 46 to 64 years of age. Around 42 percent of those surveyed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point.
Gender can also play a role in the likelihood of drowsy driving. Males may be more likely than females to drive while drowsy, with 46 percent of males and 26 percent of females surveyed having nodded off behind the wheel.
It may not be surprising that drowsy driving is more common at night. Between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. is when about half of all recorded drowsy driving accidents occur.
The Symptoms of Driver Fatigue
If you are displaying symptoms of fatigue, you should not operate a motor vehicle until you have had additional rest. However, driver weariness may not always manifest in the same way, making it difficult to identify in some instances. A few well-known indicators of driver fatigue are:
- Being unable to keep your eyes focused
- Feeling like your head is uncomfortably heavy
- Struggling to keep your eyes open and constant blinking
Drowsy Driving Can Have Serious Repercussions
Driving while exhausted can have life-changing or fatal consequences. Even if someone survives their drowsiness-related accident, they may sustain serious injuries, or cause harm to others that requires months or years of treatment and rehabilitation. According to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the societal cost of sleepy driving is estimated to be around $109 billion annually.
How to Avoid Drowsy Driving
Growing tired behind the wheel is a common occurrence, but how you deal with this exhaustion could be the difference between life and death. Here are some ideas to help you stay focused and safe behind the wheel:
- Develop good sleeping habits
- Pull over and take a 10-minute power nap to recharge your battery if needed
- Set up a carpool
- Be aware of medications that could cause drowsiness
- Incorporate some attention-grabbing stimuli while you are driving, like a blast of air conditioning
- Look for engaging ways to pass the time, such as music, podcasts, and audiobooks
- Make a driving schedule that helps you avoid fatigue
- Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages
- Use your seat belt at all times
Ultimately, the only way to truly eliminate fatigue is by resting. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is essential to avoid growing drowsy behind the wheel.
Speak with a Skilled Attorney about Drowsy Driving Accidents
The actions of other motorists on the road are unpredictable. Being aware of the dangers of drowsy driving can help you better protect yourself and those you love.
If you were severely harmed in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, contact a local attorney to discover your legal options. With the help of a dedicated lawyer, you could pursue the compensation you need and deserve for your losses. Contact us today to learn more.