According to a recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), more than 150,000 drivers eighteen years of age or older admitted to driving while sleepy. Shockingly, one-third of these adults also admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once in the past month, an act that will almost certainly lead to a drowsy driving car accident.
Confronted by such alarming statistics, the NSF has declared November 1—8 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. Designed to educate drivers on the dangers of driving while fatigued, this week aims to reduce the number of drowsy driving car accidents and subsequent fatalities.
Although it’s difficult to attribute a car accident to driver sleepiness, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy drivers cause up to 10,000 fatal car crashes per year. In fact, just like alcohol or drugs, drowsiness can cause slower reaction times, impaired judgment and decreased driving performance.
To help ensure you’re not the cause of a drowsy driver car accident, be alert to the following warning signs that indicate you’re becoming too fatigued to drive safely. These signs include:
• Becoming restless or irritable behind the wheel
• Daydreaming while driving, or having consistent wandering thoughts
• Blinking frequently, feeling as though your eyelids are heavy or rubbing your eyes
• Having a difficult time keeping your head up
• Drifting out of your lane or hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road
If you notice any of the warning signs above while driving, pull off the road as soon as it is safe to do so. Then, consider staying in a hotel overnight. If that isn’t feasible, consider taking a quick nap to rejuvenate your mind and help you safely continue on your journey.
Remember, it’s important to get at least seven hours of sleep the night before travelling. It’s also important to have a friend or family member with you whenever possible while driving.
A friend or family member can act as your “co-pilot” and can help you drive safely by remaining alert to any signs of drowsiness you may present. If they are of legal driving age, they can also share drive time with you on longer trips to help ensure everyone is well-rested and alert when behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by someone’s drowsy driving, the knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are here to help you get the justice you deserve.