Drowsy Driving

Three out of five drivers on the road today are drowsy drivers. Drowsy driving can sneak up on you. Some of the early warning signs of drowsy driving include frequently blinking, not remembering the last two miles driven, missing turns or exits, and drifting in and out of your lane.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adult drivers admit to having driven while feeling drowsy in the past year, and one-third of adult drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 100,000 crashes result from drowsy driving, causing over 1,500 deaths. Most drowsy driving accidents occurred during early morning commutes (4:00 am to 6:00 am), late-night travels (12:00 am to 2:00 am), and between 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, the afternoon slump. Drowsy driving accidents occur most often on long rural highways as compared to urban areas. Men under the age of 25, commercial drivers, shift workers, and business travelers are most affected. A drowsy driver can be as impaired as a drunk driver. Being awake for more than 20 hours can result in an impairment equal to a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08, the legal limit in most states.

The best thing you can do to prevent drowsy driving is to get enough sleep. Studies have shown that drivers who sleep only 5 to 6 hours per day are twice as likely to crash than drivers who sleep 7 hours or more daily. Avoid alcohol or medications that make you drowsy before driving.

If you catch yourself feeling a bit drowsy, turn up the radio or roll down the window. Change drivers if possible. Pullover to rest and take a quick 15 to 20-minute catnap, which can help enhance your motor skills and attention span. If nothing else works, get a hotel room for the night and rest.

Caffeine may be helpful, but it is not the solution to drowsy driving. You need at least 190 mg of caffeine or two cups of coffee. But be aware that caffeine takes up to 30 minutes to enter your bloodstream, so sipping coffee while you drive may have little effect.

If you are injured in an accident with a drowsy driver, Contact the experienced lawyers at Bell & Pollock.

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