Open Your Eyes to the Dangers of Dozing at the Wheel
In a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, 30 percent of those surveyed get less than six hours of sleep each weekday night. Hardly any one sleeps for eight hours.
The list of problems with forgoing sleep is long — reduced performance, weight gain, poor health, and irritability. But in addition to the physical strain on your body, you also put your life at risk by climbing behind the wheel after a sleepless night.
The National Sleep Foundation launched Drowsy Driving Prevention Week to highlight the dangers of drowsy driving. The annual awareness campaign continues until November 8. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the dangers of driving without adequate sleep and steps you can take to avoid doing so.
Sleepy Driving Stats Are a Wakeup Call
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that drowsy driving causes one of six fatal car crashes and one of eight accidents that requires hospitalization.
Yet people do it all the time. In fact, AAA reports more than 40 percent of drivers admitted to having fallen asleep while driving at some point. 27 percent admitted feeling so sleepy that [they] had a hard time keeping [their] eyes open while driving during the month before.
These sleepy drivers are often hardworking people who would never dream of driving drunk. For many, the sleeplessness results from putting in too many hours at the office or wanting to spend more time with their families. Unfortunately, sleeplessness often impairs driving more than alcohol.
Who is at Risk of Driving While Tired?
In our fast-paced culture, everyone is at risk of driving while tired. However, you are statistically at greater risk if you are
- A male under 26 years old
- A shift worker, especially with rotating shifts, night shift or long shifts
- A commercial driver, particularly with long-haul bus or tractor-trailer jobs
- A business traveler who drives long hours or has jet lag
- Any one suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea
Hours of service (HOS) regulations are designed to reduce the risks associated with tired commercial drivers, but these laws cannot stop 18-wheeler and bus drivers from climbing behind the wheel after too little sleep.
Also, laws do not address other circumstances of drowsy driving. You may be tempted to get behind the wheel after pulling an all-nighter, sitting at the computer all day or finishing a physically demanding project.
You Know You’re Too Tired to Drive When….
- You can’t concentrate
- Your eyelids feel heavy
- You daydream
- You miss exits or run traffic lights
- You can’t remember driving the last few miles
- You repeatedly yawn and rub your eyes
- Your head nods
- You drift into the next lane or onto the shoulder
- You feel irritable and restless
Contact Berenson Injury Law for a free case evaluation if you have been injured by a drowsy driver. I have 35 years of experience investigating these types of cases and gathering the evidence you need to recover damages.