Beware: Drowsy Driving Accidents Increase in Numbers Each Year
More and more car accidents in Orlando, FL are the result of sleeping drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 100,000 auto accidents are the result of a driver falling asleep behind the wheel each year. Those 100,000 accidents are the cause of approximately 1,500 deaths and over 70,000 injuries. The report does not take into account the dollar amount in damages that drowsy-driving causes.
At The Pendas Law Firm, our car accident lawyers advocate safe driving practices and hope to help residents of Orlando avoid drowsy driving by providing tips on what to look out for while behind the wheel to a car, truck, or other motor vehicle.
Proving Causation Behind a Drowsy-Driving Accident
Drowsy-driving accidents have a number of factors in common. For instance, it has been found that age groups with irregular sleep patterns (18-20 year olds) tend to be involved in five times more drowsy-driving accidents than those with a more set sleep schedule. Additionally, accidents in which drowsy-driving is thought to be the causing factor occur between midnight and 12 am, or mid-afternoon when circadian rhythms dip in most individuals. Fortunately, most drowsy-driving accidents involve only one vehicle, and the driver is typically alone in the car. While authorities cannot be 100 percent certain that drowsy-driving is the cause of an Orlando car accident without confirmation from the driver, forensics goes a long way towards pinpointing the cause. For instance, the high-rate of speed with which a driver runs off the road, combined with the lack of any indication that the driver tried to break, are key indicators that the driver was asleep at the time of the accident.
Tips To Avoid Drowsy-Driving
Drowsy-driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence. In fact, one study done by researchers in Australia show that being awake for 18 hours produces an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol concentration of .05. Being awake for 20 hours or more produces an effect that is equivalent to a BAC of .10, .02 points over the legal limit. However, whether or not you have been awake for 18 hours or more, there are key signs of fatigue to watch out for while on the road:
- You cannot remember the last few miles that you have driven;
- You hit a rumble strip or drift out of your lane;
- You have to keep pulling your vehicle back into your lane;
- You find that you keep having to force yourself to pay attention to the road;
- You yawn repeatedly;
- You have difficulty focusing, keeping your eyes open, and/or keeping your head up; and
- You barely avoid collisions with other cars or objects.
If you notice any of these signs, it is important that you take immediate action to avoid falling asleep behind the wheel entirely. If you are already on the road and are experiencing signs of fatigue, the best thing you can do is to pull over at a rest stop or find a hotel to take a nap or catch a full eight hours of sleep. If you are driving with another person, and if they have been resting, switch places with them.
If you plan on taking a long road trip, plan your driving time accordingly. Only set out on your drive after a full six to eight hours of good sleep. Head out in the morning, and plan to stop at a hotel at nightfall. Drink plenty of water throughout the trip, and avoid drinking excess caffeine. While caffeine serves to provide you with a short jolt of energy, it is only temporary, and will make you crash within hours of drinking it. Stop every 100 miles to get out of the vehicle and stretch. And finally, do not take any medications with sleep-inducing ingredients eight hours or less prior to getting behind the wheel.
Contact Our Orlando Car Accident Lawyers
At The Pendas Law Firm, our goal is to help reduce the number of drowsy-driving accidents in Orlando and surrounding areas. However, accidents are called accidents for a reason, and there are always going to be drivers out there who push themselves a little too far past their driving capabilities. If you or a loved one were recently the victim of a drowsy-driving accident, contact our Orlando car accident lawyers today to see if you have grounds for a personal injury claim. The drowsy-driver may be held liable for your injuries or damages. If they are, you are entitled to compensation for the damages and injuries they caused. To speak with a personal injury lawyer, call 1-888-LPENDAS today.
The Pendas Law Firm also serves clients in the Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona, Bradenton, and West Palm Beach areas.