Drowsy driving has become a frequent practice among vehicle operators, contributing to a staggering number of accidents and fatalities. Most people are aware of the dangers of drunk driving, but few know that drowsy driving can be equally perilous. Many drivers believe they can still safely operate a vehicle while drowsy, and downplay the effects of driving under these conditions. Drivers need to learn how to identify the symptoms of drowsy driving to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.
AAA researchers polled 2,300 Americans about the issue recently and supporting data revealed drowsy driving to be the cause of one-sixth of fatal car crashes. UCLA’s Sleep Disorder Center also conducted a study that concluded drowsy driving was responsible for 100,000 auto accidents each year. Most industry experts agree this number is at the low end of the scale, as drowsiness is self-reported and often not cited by the driver as the reason for the accident.
Of those surveyed by AAA, 28.3 percent of drivers revealed they had operated a vehicle while drowsy, including 19 percent who reported they have driven tired more than once. Two percent of respondents advised they regularly operated a vehicle while tired. In UCLA’s study, more than 55 percent of drivers admitted to drowsy driving within the last year.
UCLA identified the groups most susceptible to drowsy driving in order to spread awareness about their susceptibility. Among those most at risk were frequent business travelers and drivers who have been awake for extended periods. Drivers under the influence can be both intoxicated and drowsy from drinking, therefore doubling their risk of having an accident. Others at risk include those with sleep disorders and drivers who take medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect. It is especially important that these drivers pay closer attention to how they feel prior to operating a vehicle.
Tired drivers should pull over immediately. Drivers can unknowingly take micro-naps that last mere seconds but are long enough for an accident to occur. It is essential drivers know how to identify signs of drowsiness. The symptoms can include frequent yawning or eye rubbing, feeling foggy, and lacking the ability to remember the last few miles driven. Driving past an exit or missing traffic signs is also a strong indicator. Drifting out of lanes and onto rumble strips is another surefire sign that the driver is at risk of crashing.
Tired drivers can take several steps to limit their liability on the road due to unsafe driving. This includes bringing a companion along for travel and taking turns driving. This can allow the driver to take a short nap and recharge. It is also beneficial to pull over at a rest stop to pick up some coffee or other caffeinated beverage and walk around. It is important to note that it takes 30 minutes for the anti-fatigue effect of caffeine to kick in. If breaks and caffeine do not help the drowsiness, consider staying at a hotel room for rest before driving again.
At the law offices of Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. we understand injuries from car accidents can be debilitating, and that is why our knowledgeable team is here to help. Our Media car accident lawyers will fight for the compensation you deserve. We assist clients throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Time is of the essence for personal injury claims. Call a Media car accident lawyer today at 610-565-3700 or submit an online inquiry.