Dangers of Drowsy Driving
I’m Ed Smith, a South Lake Tahoe auto accident attorney. Many people think that drunk driving and distracted driving account for a large majority of auto accidents. But, did you know drowsy driving also plays a huge role in accident statistics?
Dangers of not Getting a Full Night of Sleep
According to data released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers who did not get a full night of sleep the night before are at nearly two-times higher the risk of crashing their vehicle, motorcycle, or truck than a driver who did get a full night of sleep. If you miss two to three hours of sleep in any 24-hour period, your chances of a crash more than quadruples, compared to drivers who receive a full seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
Drunk Driving Versus Drowsy Driving
Like alcohol and drugs, drowsy driving or driving while fatigued can impair our ability to operate a vehicle safely. Drowsy driving may affect our:
- Reaction time
- Decision Making
- Hand-eye coordination
If you only get four to five hours of sleep per night, the dangers are very similar to driving when you are legally drunk (with a blood alcohol content of below .08%). If you receive less than four to five hours of sleep at night, you are just as impaired as an individual who has twice the legal limit of alcohol in their system.
Risks of a Drowsy Driver on the Road
The risk of a drowsy driver on the road is quite serious. A person wouldn’t drive drunk or text while behind the wheel may drive while drowsy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a survey in 2015. The results indicated that one in twenty-five people surveyed confessed to falling asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle in the previous month. In 2013, there were approximately 6,000 accidents where drowsy driving or sleep-impaired driving was a factor in the accident.
Watch Youtube Video – The Danger of Drowsy Drivers. The video indicates there are more than 5,500 drowsy driving accidents per year.
Common Signs of Drowsy Driving
- Not able to recall the last few miles driven
- Missing your exit or turn
- Drifting from your lane
- Blinking or yawning frequently
- Difficulty keeping your head up
- Coming into contact with the rumble strip
It’s important to remember, even if you don’t feel tired when you get behind the wheel, it may not be safe to drive. Over half of the drivers who were involved in a fatigue-related accident claimed they felt no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel, according to data that AAA studied.
Tips for Traveling
As drivers, it is our responsibility to ensure we are safe to be behind the wheel of a car or truck. Drowsy driving can put everyone in your path at risk, including yourself. If you’re planning on taking a long road trip, it is very important to make sure you are well rested and prepared for your journey. Below are some safety tips to consider before hitting the road.
-Plan to stop every two hours or 100 miles to get out of your vehicle and stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
- Make sure you get a full night of rest the night before your scheduled departure.
- Plan your drive time during hours of the day you are usually awake.
- Stay away from medications that can cause drowsiness.
- Travel with a passenger and take turns behind the wheel.
South Lake Tahoe Drowsy Driving Injury & Auto Accident Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a South Lake Tahoe auto accident attorney. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an auto collision due to another driver’s negligence, call me today at (530) 392-9400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free advice.
We invite you to browse through our past verdicts and settlements.
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons