Drowsy Driving is a serious danger to motorists on the road. It is estimated that approximately 75,000 crashes, 45,000 injuries and 1,000 deaths occur each year because of drowsy driving. However, the most upsetting fact about these numbers is that they are probably vastly underestimated. Simply put, evidence of drowsy driving is often sparse and circumstantial. Unlike distracted driving or drunk driving, drowsy driving can sneak up on motorists, because it is unpredictable to determine when fatigue will take over. Therefore, drowsy driving is often referred to as the Silent Killer. Taken into account the enormous under-reporting of drowsy driving, some experts claim that falling asleep at the wheel may account for over 5,000 American deaths a year, rather than just approximately 1,000.
There is evidence that drowsy driving is just as, or even some cases more dangerous that drunk driving. It is even possible to be cited for reckless driving or driving under impairment for driving while drowsy. A good safe motorist should have a clear head and be able to have adequate reaction time. Drowsiness and fatigue can hinder a motorist’s ability to drive safely. We can all agree that if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, you should not get behind the wheel. It is just as important to have the mindset that if you are impaired due to a lack of sleep or excessive fatigue, you should also not get behind the wheel.
There are people more at risk of driving drowsy. It is unpredictable when exactly fatigue can take over our bodies.
- The obvious risk factor is not getting enough sleep in the first place. It is estimated that adults need at least 7 hours and teenagers need at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Experts agree, there is no substitute for sleep.
- People who work second or third shift, or who routinely work double shifts are also at risk for drowsy driving.
- Commercial truck drivers are at high risk.
- Medical issues may play a factor. Some driver may take medications that make them sleepy. It is also common for sleep disorders to go undiagnosed or untreated, which can lead to falling asleep at the wheel.
It is estimated that between 5 and 10% of American adults have admitted to falling or starting to fall asleep behind the wheel in the past 6 months. It is important to remember, that there are subtle signals that happens to our bodies when falling asleep. Knowing these warning signs can be a lifesaving signal to you that you should not be driving.
- Having trouble keeping eyes opened and focused
- Head nodding
- Frequent blinking or yawning
- Drifting in lane or hitting a rumble strip
- Missing a turn or exit
The most important takeaway is that awareness of the problem of Drowsy Driving can save lives. The number one prevention is making sure to get an adequate amount of sleep. Not only is it good for your health, it will make you a safer driver.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373