Are You at Risk for Drowsy Driving?

tired driving picDrowsy driving is one of the most underestimated safety risks in the United States, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has contributed to more than 7,000 deaths in accidents over the past decade alone.

Contrary to popular expectations, it’s not just people who have not had enough sleep who may be at risk of a drowsy driving accident. There are lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of drowsiness, and therefore make you susceptible to an accident.

For instance, consumption of alcohol is likely  to magnify the effect of lack of sleep, increasing the risk of drowsiness, and causing you to possibly doze off at the wheel. If you have not slept well over the past few days, avoid drinking before you drive. The combination of alcohol and lack of sleep can be deadly.

If you are on prescription medication or over-the-counter medication, your chances of drowsy driving are very real. Certain medications can induce drowsiness as a side effect, while other medications may react with alcohol and other types of drugs to induce drowsiness.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if you are a young male driver between the ages 17 and 23, you are at a greater risk of drowsy driving. Further, if you suffer from a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, or narcolepsy, you are at a much higher risk of drowsy driving. In addition, workers in shift-based jobs, or those who work irregular hours, may also be at a high risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

Every driver should be getting at least six hours of sleep to drive safely. People who get less than this amount of sleep every night may be at a high risk of dozing off while driving. Even if you are an at-risk driver, reduce your risks of drowsiness while driving by avoiding driving unless you have had at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. If planning a long road trip, get sufficient rest and avoid drinking alcohol before driving. If you are on medications that cause drowsiness, avoid driving during the hours that make you most drowsy.

If you have been involved in a car accident and you suspect the other driver was under the influence of substances or driving while drowsy, get help filing a claim right away. Talk to an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP. Call them today.