Most everyone knows the dangers of drunk driving. However, not everyone knows that the dangers of drowsy driving can rival the dangers of drunk driving. The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker wants you to know that driving while tired is a huge factor in many car accidents. A new survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) estimates that one out of every six fatal crashes is caused by drowsy driving. In addition, driving drowsy is a factor in one out of every eight accidents involving hospitalization and one out of every fourteen accidents that renders a vehicle inoperable after an auto accident.
Some new statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety illuminate the seriousness of the drowsy driving problem. 41% of drivers indicate that they have been asleep behind the wheel. 11% of drivers admit falling asleep behind the wheel in the last year; 4% said this happened in the past month. Over half of drivers who fell asleep while driving reported it was on a high-speed divided highway. 59% of these drivers indicated they had been driving for under an hour. 26% noted that they fell asleep while driving between 12:00PM and 5:00 PM.
Driving while tired is something that should be avoided. AAA recommends some common sense tips on how to avoid drowsiness, taken directly from their 2010 Drowsy Driving report.
To remain alert and avoid drowsiness, AAA suggests:
- Getting plenty of sleep (at least six hours) the night before a long trip
- Traveling at times when you are normally awake, and staying overnight rather than driving straight through
- Scheduling a break every two hours or every 100 miles
- Stop driving if you become sleepy; someone who is tired could fall asleep at any time – fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment and vision, causing people who are very sleepy to behave in similar ways to those who are drunk
- Not planning to work all day and then drive all night
- Drink a caffeinated beverage. Since it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream, find a safe place to take a 20-30 minute nap while you’re waiting for the caffeine to take effect
- Avoid sleepy times of day. Take a mid-afternoon nap and find a place to sleep between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Traveling with an awake passenger
Symptoms of sleepiness include but are not limited to:
- Having trouble keeping your eyes open and focused
- The inability to keep your head up
- Daydreaming or having wandering, disconnected thoughts
- Drifting from your lane or off the road, or tailgating
- Yawning frequently or rubbing your eyes repeatedly
- Missing signs or driving past your intended exit
- Feeling irritable and restless
- Being unable to remember how far you have traveled or what you have recently passed
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker. Call us at (800) 333-0000 for a free consultation. We’ve been helping the victims of car crashes for 30 years obtain needed financial compensation for their injuries.