One of the most commonly accepted, yet dangerous driving habits is that of fatigued driving. Many people normalize such behavior, often combatting their nodding off with a few shots of espresso, turning the radio up at full volume, and rolling down the windows for bursts of cold air. While this may seemingly work for a handful of people, these actions do nothing to provide you with the necessary rest to operate a vehicle safely. To get familiar with the real risks of driving while exhausted, see the information below, as provided by the car accident lawyers at Riddle and Brantley.
How Fatigued Driving Affects U.S. Motorists
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled a chilling statistic that would dishearten many who understand the dangers of operating a vehicle while exhausted: Across the U.S., one out of every 25 admitted to having fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once per month. Remember the last time you nodded off while driving your car. After you’ve been jolted awake, you realize that you have no recollection of the last few seconds, meaning that you had no control over your vehicle when your eyes briefly shut.
Sleepy drivers are responsible for an estimated 100,000 police-reported crashes each year, injuring a staggering 71,000 people, and ending the lives of 1,550 more. How does is this habit so dangerous? When you close your eyes, even for a second, you forfeit your environmental awareness and physical control over your car. Drowsy driving has often been compared to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, given how much this mental state slows your reaction time and robs you of your alertness.
You may be driving while overly fatigued if you begin to feel or display any of the following signs:
- Excessive yawning or eye-rubbing
- Missing multiple exits or turns
- Nodding off
- Attempts to shock or distract yourself by increasing the music volume or blasting cold air on yourself via the windows or air conditioner
- Daydreaming or other forms of losing focus
- Drifting between lanes
- Delayed responses to traffic signs and other vehicles
- You are experiencing hallucinations
Experts estimate that there may be 350% instances of drowsy driving than the public is currently aware of. To keep yourself safe, and prevent your contribution to the problem, choose not to get behind the wheel when you haven’t had enough sleep.
Avoid Driving When You’re Tired
Some of the worst things you can do in your attempts to combat your drowsiness include drinking an energy drink or consuming energy-boosting medication. Although this may seem like a good idea, this can make your circumstances even more dangerous. You will feel energized for a short period, only to decline yet again, potentially becoming even more tired than before. The best thing you can do is avoid driving altogether if you’re feeling exhausted.
Everyone’s lives are at risk when a drowsy driver decides to get on the road, yet, those that are especially in danger include motorists under the age of 25. This is especially applies to individuals who work long hours or the night shift, individuals with sleeping disorders, and others who live with circumstances that predispose them to irregular sleeping patterns.
If you have been the victim of an accident with a drowsy driver, contact a lawyer today. They will provide you with the tools and guidance needed to recover compensation for the damages and hold the negligent individual accountable for their actions.