Drowsy Driving

sleepy tired driving accidentsDrowsy driving can be a risk to anyone operating a vehicle.  The UCLA Sleep Disorder Center  identifies those most at risk as: young male drivers, shift workers, drivers who don’t get enough sleep, drivers who have been awake for too long, drivers with sleep disorders, and drivers using medications that make you drowsy.  To reduce drowsy-driving related accidents and prevent the loss of life the National Sleep Foundation hosts an annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.  According to Drowsydriving.org the goal is to “provide public education about the under-reported risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road.”  According to Terry L. Rhodes, Executive Director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), in Florida in 2015 there were 23 fatalities and 4,000 car accidents as a result of drowsy driving.

Signs You May Be Drowsy

Your internal body clock and how long you’ve been awake are the two main factors that cause drowsiness.  The UCLA Sleep Disorder Center has studied drowsy driving and determined there are several signs you may be drowsy while operating a vehicle.  Signs you may be drowsy include:

  • Yawning or nodding off
  • Your thoughts wander causing you to lose focus on the road
  • You forget driving for the last couple miles
  • Drifting into other lanes or the shoulder of the road
  • You are irritable or rushing

tired drivers cause accidentsHow to Avoid Driving Drowsy

In order to prevent driving drowsy the DHSMV offers several suggestions:

  • Avoid driving when you would normally be sleeping
  • Avoid driving if you are taking a medication that causes drowsiness
  • Take breaks on long road trips – every 2 hours is recommended
  • Pull off the road if you are tired and need rest
  • Rotate drivers on lengthy road trips
  • Drink caffeine – 2 cups of coffee will give you several hours of alertness

Who to Call

Drowsy driving can adversely affect anyone behind the wheel.   Whether you are a victim or the driver the consequences can be burdensome.  If you or someone you know has been involved in a fatigue-related car accident it is important to seek legal counsel.  The attorneys at Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice and Purtz are here to help.   Call us today to schedule a free consultation.