Fatigued Driving: Falling Asleep at the Wheel
Drive alert and don’t get hurt. We are regularly warned about the consequences of distracted driving and driving under the influence. Fatigued driving, or drowsy driving, is also a serious concern. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) there have been 697 deaths from drowsy-driving related crashes in 2019.
Fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Similar symptoms include:
- poor judgment
- lack of concentration
- slower reaction times
Studies show that after 18 hours without sleep, performance levels were equivalent to someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%– that’s nearly the legal limit.
Focusing on the road is critical and ignoring signs of fatigued driving can lead to serious and sometimes fatal consequences for you and for others.
How do we avoid fatigued driving?
While terms like “drowsy”, “sleepy”, and “fatigued” are sometimes used interchangeably, the underlying cause of such a condition reveals its preventative nature.
Fatigued driving usually occurs when one does not have enough sleep. It can also occur with medications, untreated sleeping disorders and shift work. If you find yourself yawning, blinking frequently or drifting from your lane, please pull over to rest or change drivers. Make the right choice to never drive when you are too tired.
Here are a few ways to avoid fatigued driving:
Get enough sleep. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a day.
Avoid driving after drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you sleepy.
Do not drive during hours of your usual sleep regimen. Peak hours of most fatigued driving car accidents have been reported between the hours of 12 AM to 6 AM.
If you are on a road trip, be sure to alternate drivers and rest when you are not responsible for driving.
If you have symptoms of a possible sleep disorder, talk to your physician and get treatment.
We know that after a tragic event or accident, dealing with the aftermath is the last thing that families want to worry about. Don’t struggle with your legal matters alone. Contact us anytime to schedule a free consultation.