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What is Drowsy Driving?
While drowsy driving may not sound as serious as other causes of motor vehicle crashes, it can be just as hazardous and deadly as distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 633 people were killed in crashes involving drowsy driving in 2020. But this number may be underestimated, and more than 6,000 deadly accidents yearly may involve drowsy driving.
Not having adequate sleep can significantly impact your judgment, ability to concentrate, and reaction time, which can be particularly dangerous, even deadly, when you’re driving. Whether you are just heading across town or embarking on a road trip, here are some simple tips to avoid drowsy driving.
How You Can Avoid Drowsy Driving and Ensure Your Safety On The Road
- Get ample sleep before heading out. Unfortunately, most drivers do not think about the negative effects of not getting enough sleep until it’s too late. Whether you do not get enough sleep regularly or have been awake for hours on end, lack of sleep can seriously affect your ability to react promptly and pay attention to your surroundings while behind the wheel.
- Know the most common warning signs of drowsy driving. If you are yawning constantly, cannot keep your eyes open or focused on the road, or feel your mind drifting off, pull over in a safe spot immediately.
- Find a safe spot to pull over and nap for a while when you feel tired, even if you believe that your driving ability isn’t being affected yet. Many drivers mistakenly think they can power through drowsiness, but not all of them can. Hand over the wheel to someone else and rotate driving shifts if you are traveling with others.
- Never drive while intoxicated. When drowsiness is mixed with alcohol, the dangers are significantly intensified.
- If you are taking any medications, even over-the-counter ones, make sure that they don’t impact your ability to drive safely. Take note that the effects of medicines can last for hours. Common examples of medicines that can make you drowsy include:
- Sleeping pills
- Certain antidepressants
- Some painkillers
- Certain high-blood pressure medications
- Some antihistamines (anti-allergy medications)
- Certain muscle relaxants
- Some cough or cold medications
An Important Note on Caffeine
Consuming caffeine is not a substitute for sleep. While it helps keep drowsiness at bay, the boost it provides will eventually wear off. You can also consider taking a quick nap after consuming caffeine to give your body time to absorb it.
Reach Out to an Experienced Tampa Car Accident Attorney Today
Put simply, tired and drowsy drivers have delayed reaction times and compromised judgment, which increases their risk of getting into a crash. Besides putting themselves at risk, they are also risking the lives of other people on the road. If you’ve been injured in a car crash due to drowsy driving, contact the Tampa car accident attorney at Mickey Keenan, PA, and arrange your case evaluation by calling 813-871-1300 or completing our online form.