According to the National Safety Council, 50% of drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. It’s clear that this is a prevalent issue on the road, but many people don’t realize the risks drowsy driving puts themselves and others. Far too often, drivers are distracted while on the road, whether it be from being on the phone or fatigue.
In the most in-depth research on drowsy driving, The American Automobile Association studied dashboard video of 700 accidents while focusing on the portion of time the drivers’ eyes were closed moments before a crash.
While the federal government indicates drowsiness as a factor of 1% - 2% crashes, the study by AAA found that the numbers could be closer to 10%. That means that accidents caused by drowsy driving are 3.5 times higher than reported.
Impact of Drowsiness on Driving
Similar to driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while drowsy reduces drivers’ reaction times, awareness of hazards, and the ability to sustain attention only worsens the drowsier the driver is.
Preventing Drowsy Driving
The risks of drowsy driving are clear, so what can you do? Unfortunately, experts at AAA say tactics such as drinking coffee and singing isn’t enough to keep a driver alert. While sleep is the number one suggestion, here are some others:
Get more sleep. Though this is the obvious solution to drowsy driving, many US adults have trouble getting a proper amount of sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests adults get seven or more hours of sleep each night.
Crash avoidance technologies. Some newer cars come with a drowsiness alert that can detect patterns of drowsy driving and suggest you take a break.
Pay attention to medication labels. Side effects aren’t always visible or clear, but you shouldn’t operate a vehicle unless it’s safe. If you are someone who requires regular medication, you must be aware of the side effects.
Don’t drive alone. Having a passenger can provide entertainment, making it harder to fall asleep, but even more, they can take over if you need rest.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to the negligence of a drowsy driver, you might have a case. Call Henderson & Futchko, P.A. today at (321) 320-7162 for a free initial consultation.