The Real Dangers of Driving While Drowsy

You have certainly heard about the dangers of drunk driving but you probably have not heard too much about the real dangers of drowsy driving. Since more people are more likely to get behind the wheel while sleepy than they are likely to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, in many regards, drowsy driving is more prevalent a danger on the roads. Indeed, according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4% of all adult drivers have admitted to falling completely asleep behind the wheel. If we want to stop drowsy driving from causing serious car accidents, it will help for us all to know more about the problem.

Drowsy Driving: Are You at Risk?

If 4% of adult drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel, then it can safely be assumed that many more have been extremely exhausted while driving but managed to stay away. In either circumstance, the dangers are real and could cause a traffic collision. If you have found yourself driving sleepily in recent days or weeks, consider whether or not something is making you more at-risk to drowsy driving.

You might be more likely to drive while drowsy if you:

  • Work late nights, early mornings, or have a swinging shift schedule.
  • Have been diagnosed with insomnia or another sleeping disorder.
  • Use medication that causes drowsiness as a side effect.
  • Regularly partake in drugs or alcohol for recreation.
  • Drive long distances for your work, such as a commercial trucker.

What Risks Does Drowsy Driving Cause?

There are certainly few among us all who can honestly claim that they have never driven while tired before. It is an easy mistake to make since we have been told again and again that the real hazards on the road are drunk or distracted drivers, not really sleepy ones. Indeed, it is simple to not fully register what you are doing when you are tired, and you may get into a car while drowsy without understanding why it is so important to be well-rested. Recognizing the consequences of drowsy driving now can hopefully bring them back to your attention the next time you almost drive while tired.

Drowsy drivers are likely to experience:

  • Struggles when trying to pay attention to the road.
  • Impaired judgement when making important decisions, such as when merging is safe.
  • Reduced reaction time – in certain areas around the country, like North Carolina, this is especially dangerous since deer and other wildlife often leap into the road without warning.
  • Difficulty gauging distances, like how much open road is left when needing to brake.

When Should You Pull Over If You’re Tired?

There is a difference between driving before your morning cup of coffee while stifling a few yawns, and driving when you’ve gone 24 hours without sleep. And yet, being able to recognize that middle ground is not necessarily easy. How are you supposed to know when you’re too tired to drive safely? Is there an easy when to know when being drowsy is too drowsy?

Basically, it is important to be honest with yourself and keep an eye out for warning signs that you need to take a rest. If you’re experiencing any of the following warning signs of drowsy driving, you’ll want to give yourself a break to reduce the likelihood that you’ll be involved in a car crash.

You are probably getting dangerously exhausted behind the wheel if you are:

  • Blinking or squinting noticeably more than normal.
  • Hitting into rumble strips on the side of the road.
  • Missing your exit on the freeway.
  • Feeling confused while driving a route that you should know well.
  • Drifting around your lane.
  • Struggling to recall the past few minutes of travel.

While it can be tempting to “push through” and make it to your destination, it is just not worth risking your life and the wellbeing everyone else on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a drowsy driving was involved in about 72,000 car crashes and 800 car accident fatalities in 2013 alone. The statistic is a harrowing reminder of how truly reckless it can be to assume drowsy driving is acceptable.

To avoid drowsy driving, consider these alternative solutions:

  • Get a solid night’s sleep at the nearest motel or hotel before continuing in the morning.
  • Pull over on the side of the road, as far away from moving traffic as you possible can, set an alarm on your phone for a few hours, and sleep; be sure to lock your doors and never stop your vehicle where it is unsafe to do so.
  • Take the next exit, buy a caffeinated beverage from a store or restaurant, go for a brisk walk around the parking lot, and try to nap in your car for 15 to 20 minutes; when you awaken, the caffeine of the drink should be just starting to give you some energy.

Greenville, NC Auto Accident Attorneys

My name is Brian Ricci, and I am a car accident attorney serving Greenville, NC and the surrounding areas. I am a longtime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a group of top-rated U.S. trial lawyers with multimillion dollar settlements and case verdicts for the injured clients we have served. If you want to learn more about Ricci Law Firm Injury Lawyers, PA, you can review some of the excellent case results our team has obtained recently or peruse some of our client testimonials and reviews. You can also head over to Facebook, Avvo, and Google+ for more reviews..

If you have suffered a personal injury due to a negligent, intoxicated, or drowsy driver, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime for free, friendly advice. We can go over the details of your accident case over the phone and see how best to proceed. Initial consultations are complete free and there is no obligation on your part.