Asleep Behind the Wheel: Accidents Caused by Drowsy Driving
Many people simply do not get enough sleep. Either they have trouble falling or staying asleep at night, or simply work jobs and shifts that prevent them from ever getting enough sleep. Even family problems, from having a baby or having a rebellious teen, can cause you to stay up at night and not get the required amount of sleep you need to be able to function correctly. Serious and potentially fatal situations arise when these tired and groggy people get behind the wheel of a car. Car accidents due to drowsy driving have risen dramatically in recent years, and injuries caused by these accident are often severe and life-threatening. National efforts to raise awareness of the dangers associated with drowsy driving hope to put a dent in the amount of injuries and fatalities associated with this kind of reckless driving behavior.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving has become a major problem on U.S. roads and highways. An estimated 1 in 25 drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point over a 30-day period. The problem is more than just drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel. Being overly tired or sleepy and driving drowsy results in your attention wandering from the road, your reaction times decreasing, and affects your ability to make good decisions. People at risk for drowsy driving include commercial drivers, shift workers, people with untreated sleep disorders, those on medication, and anyone who has suffered a loss of sleep for one reason or another. According to the CDC, warning signs of drowsy driving include:
- Frequent yawning and blinking
- Missing exit or entrance ramps
- Forgetting how far or how long you have driven
- Drifting into adjacent or opposing lanes
- Hitting curbs, medians, or rumble strips on the road
Preventing Distracted Driving
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), roughly 60 percent of drivers have driven without having gotten enough sleep in the past year. It is estimated that drowsy drivers cause over 100,000 accidents each year, and this is considered a modest estimate, as there is no exact way of knowing how many accidents have drowsy driving as a contributing cause. To raise awareness of the problem, the first week of November is designated as National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. In cooperation with the CDC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the NSF hopes to inform people of the dangers of drowsy driving, while also advising them on how to prevent it. The NSF recommends the following safety tips to prevent drowsy driving:
- Get enough sleep. For adults, this means seven to nine hours a night. For teens this means eight and a half hours minimum each night
- Bring a companion on long trips and switch drivers as needed
- Schedule stops every 100 miles or every two hours
- Avoid medications that could make you drowsy, and do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Even a small amount of alcohol can make you sleepy
If you have problems sleeping, try herbal remedies and cutting back on caffeine. Check with your doctor for conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and sleep apnea.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys for Help
If you or a loved one has been hurt or injured in a car accident caused by drowsy driving, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm right away. Our experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys may be able to help you will get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today for a free review of your case.