Driving While Fatigued Or Sleepy Can Be Just As Unsafe As Driving While Intoxicated
Most individuals know about the dangers of drunk driving. But, unfortunately, not many understand the dangers of drowsy driving. The reality is that both drowsy driving and drunk driving can result in serious car accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2017 alone, 91,000 drowsy driving-related crashes occurred. NHTSA estimates that these crashes led to approximately 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths. Unfortunately, even though drowsy driving is responsible for many car accident injuries and deaths, it does not receive the same attention as drunk driving.
The above-stated figures might shock many, but what’s more shocking is that NHTSA states that there is a broad agreement across the traffic safety, sleep science, and public health communities that the above numbers are an underestimate of the impact of drowsy driving. Experts believe that because most people are reluctant to admit that they were driving while drowsy, drowsy driving accidents are often incorrectly attributed to other factors. Based on a thorough analysis, experts believe that the number of people who die in America annually in drowsy driving accidents is close to 6,000. Additionally, experts estimate that the societal cost of drowsy driving in America is between $12.5 billion and $109 billion per year.
Unfortunately, while it can be easy to measure alcohol impairment using BAC measurements, measuring drowsiness is difficult. Because of this, drowsy driving continues to threaten the lives of many people. Anyone who gets behind the wheel while drowsy puts not only other people in danger but also themselves. In recent years, different experts have been encouraging individuals and organizations to pay attention to the problem of drowsy driving. While more and more people are taking the problem of drowsy driving seriously, a lot still needs to be done.
Defining Drowsy Driving
According to the CDC, operating a motor vehicle while sleepy or fatigued is what is known as “drowsy driving.”
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
When drowsy driving is mentioned, one danger that comes into most people’s minds is falling asleep behind the wheel. However, apart from that, drowsy driving poses other dangers. Drowsiness can affect a driver’s;
- decision-making and
- reaction time
When a motorist drives their car while sleepy or fatigued, they may find themselves having trouble maintaining the right speed. Drowsy drivers often find it hard to keep a safe distance between themselves and other motorists. Additionally, drowsy drivers may find themselves weaving back and forth between lanes.
Signs of Fatigue or Sleepiness
It can be hard for an individual to predict when they are about to fall asleep. Nevertheless, some signs can tell a driver when they are too tired to drive. The signs you, as a driver, should look out for include:
- Trouble keeping your eyes on the road
- Rolling down your car’s window
- Turning up the radio
- Poor recall of the last few miles
- Heavy eyelids
- Drooping head
- Missing exits or signs
- Aggressiveness, restlessness, or irritability
- Drifting from your lane
It is advisable for a driver to take a break when they notice they are too tired to be driving. Whenever you discover you are too exhausted to be driving, you should pull over to a safe place and rest. Usually, drivers choose to take coffee or roll down their car windows when they feel tired or sleepy, but the reality is that opening your car’s window, drinking caffeine, and turning up the music are only short-term fixes.
How Drowsy Driving Compares to Drunk Driving
Though the two are not identical, drowsy driving and drunk driving share some similarities and are believed to be equally dangerous. Both drunk driving and drowsy driving slow reaction times affect decision-making, judgment, alertness, and coordination.
According to the CDC, studies show that staying awake for approximately 18 hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.05%. Also, studies show that being awake for approximately 24 hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.10%.
Interventions for Drowsy Driving
The truth is that a lot still needs to be done to reduce drowsy driving. So, it is crucial that everyone takes a step to reduce drowsy driving. Doing so can help ensure the protection of lives. Some of the ways to reduce drowsy driving include:
- Reading medication labels since some medications cause drowsiness.
- Using crash avoidance technologies.
- University interventions since college students often receive inadequate sleep.
Contact a Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney
Individuals who suffer injuries in car accidents involving a drowsy driver may be eligible for compensation. To receive help with your case, if you were injured in a drowsy driving accident, contact a Naples car accident attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., today at 239-649-8050.