Drowsy Driving: It’s one of the most neglected and underestimated accident risks on the road. While most drivers know better than to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, far too many drivers think nothing of getting behind the wheel when they have been awake more than 20-hours at a stretch. That kind of driving greatly increases the risk of dozing off while behind the wheel and amplifies accident risks for all drivers.
The National Sleep Foundation calls drowsy driving a serious threat to transportation safety. In fact, one analysis estimates that a person who stays awake for more than 21 hours loses his ability to maintain car speed and safe positioning on the road. This impaired ability to drive is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 100,000 accidents are caused by distracted drowsy drivers each year.
Unfortunately, as there are for drug and alcohol use, there are no tests that measure the hours of sleep you have obtained before getting behind the wheel. But there are some clear signs one can observe when a driver is drowsy.
Some of the more common signs of drowsy driving are:
• Continuous and uncontrollable yawning • Inability to keep your eyes open • Fatigue • Dozing off • Finding it difficult to keep your head up • Inability to remember the last few miles that you drove • Veering away from your lane • Missing traffic signs or road signals
Should you or your driver show any of these signs when they are behind the wheel, they should pull over somewhere safe and get some sleep before returning to the road.
In order to avoid driving while drowsy, make sure that you get plenty of sleep before starting on a long journey. Avoid driving under the influence of prescription painkillers like antihistamines and antidepressants. Sleep for at least 7 – 9 hours before driving. Avoid driving alone on long journeys, as well as late night driving. If it is possible, pull over to take a nap at a rest stop, or share driving duties with someone else in your car. Studies indicate that the most effective antidote to drowsy driving is taking a brief nap.
If you have suffered injuries in an accident, speak with an Indiana car accident lawyer at our firm. Call today and tell your story to the experienced personal injury attorneys at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP.