Most drivers have been made aware of the dangers of texting and driving, talking and driving, and drinking and driving; however, fewer drivers are aware of how dangerous drowsy driving can be. Exhausted drivers can be just as dangerous as drunk drivers due to their lack of concentration and their inability to focus.
According to a 2016 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, sleeping between five and six hours within a 24-hour time period doubles a driver’s likelihood of crashing in comparison to drivers who have had at least seven hours of sleep within 24-hours.
In 2014, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a 7.2% increase in driving fatalities related to drowsy driving. This is due in part to the lack of importance placed on sleep especially for those individuals operating motor vehicles.
What should I do if I find myself sleepy while driving?
If you often find yourself going in and out of sleep while driving, take the following precautions to avoid causing an accident or worse:
- Pull over- Do not continue driving while you are showing signs of tiredness or exhaustion. Find a safe place such as a rest area to take a short nap before reentering the roadway.
- Slow down- Once you realize that you are too tired to continue driving; do not rush home in an attempt to beat your drowsiness. After taking a nap off-road, continue driving at a reasonable speed to avoid increasing your chances of an accident.
- Drink caffeine- If you have access to caffeine, drink coffee or another energy drink that will temporarily help you to maintain alertness. Be mindful that the effects of caffeine are temporary and will not last the length of a long trip.
- Get more sleep- The night before you operate a motor vehicle, make sure to schedule a minimum of seven hours of sleep. This will make a big difference in your energy levels during your drive.
- Phone a friend- If possible, have a friend or family member accompany you during long trips. Interacting with another person may help you to stay more alert, and you can take shifts driving if necessary.
Drowsy driving continues to be an issue on U.S. roadways. If you were injured due to another driver falling asleep at the wheel, Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson can be of assistance. Personal injury lawyer, Jennifer L. Donaldson can work with you to examine your options and work towards your recovery. Call (303)-458-5000 today to schedule a free consultation.