The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Driving while intoxicated is considered dangerous and it is common knowledge that this behavior is universally unacceptable. However, did you know that drowsy driving is just as dangerous yet doesn’t get the same type of attention? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. However, other published research indicates the number could be well over 300,000 crashes, a number three times greater than the number of drowsy driving accidents reported to police. This indicates that drowsy driving may occur much more frequently than what is reported to police. And unfortunately, the real number may be even higher as determining whether a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash is difficult to assess.
What Leads to Drowsy Driving Accidents?
The reality is that many of us are busier now than we’ve ever been. Between trying to juggle our own work schedules, spend time with family, and keep up with personal obligations, it is not surprising that many people end up driving even when they are tired enough to suspect they shouldn’t be.
Some of the causes of drowsy driving accidents are:
- Lack of sleep. This one is the least surprising factors since so many of us struggle with it. Despite it being recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, over a third of Americans regularly do not get enough.
- Medical conditions. Everything from undiagnosed sleep disorders that people are not aware they have, to those diagnosed, including conditions such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea, can affect a driver’s ability to stay awake on the road.
- Medicines that cause drowsiness. Prescriptions such as antidepressants and even over the counter antihistamines and cold medicines can all cause drowsiness.
- Long drives. Viewing the same scenery for an extended period can be monotonous and boring, especially when traveling alone on rural roads or on long stretches of highway.
- Stress. Unfortunately, in addition to keeping you up at night and preventing sleep, stress can also disrupt sleep patterns to the point that it leads to falling asleep while driving.
How Can These Accidents be Avoided?
While you may not be able to steer clear of every drowsy driving situation, there are some precautions you can take to avoid finding yourself falling asleep at the wheel.
- Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night
- Avoid drinking and driving
- Plan to switch drivers and schedule rest breaks in advance before undertaking a long drive or road trip
- Pay attention to the side effects of medications and don’t take ones that have a risk of drowsiness before a drive
- Consider using public transportation or a ride share company to reach your destination if you feel drowsy
Have You Been in an Accident Where the Other Driver Fell Asleep at the Wheel? Contact Us Today.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident where the other driver fell asleep, contact us today. As the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm, we are experienced in helping people like you recover the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
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