Most people have heard about the dangers of drunk driving and distracted driving, but few are aware of drowsy driving. An American Automobile Association (AAA) study reveals that drowsy driving presents the same accident risk as drunk driving. Compared to drivers who sleep for seven hours a night, those who miss two to three hours of sleep quadruple their risk of getting in car accidents.
A Good Night’s Sleep is Essential
The amount of sleep a person requires for optimal functioning varies depending on several factors, including age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that teenagers get eight to ten hours of sleep per night and adults get at least seven hours. The AAA’s Director for Traffic Safety, Advocacy, and Research notes that teenagers, older adults, and people who aren’t getting enough sleep are at the greatest risk of being involved in a drowsy driving car accident.
Drowsy Driving Facts and Statistics
The more sleep-deprived drivers are, the more likely drowsy driving wrecks are to occur. The AAA study found that drivers who get five to six hours of sleep are twice as likely to get in an accident, those who get four to five hours are more than four times as likely, and those who get less than four hours of sleep are almost 12 times more likely to be involved in a drowsy driving car accident. According to the National Sleep Foundation, not getting enough sleep slows reaction time, decreases alertness, and impairs judgment and vision; the same effects and level of impairment as alcohol intoxication. The driving performance of those who are sleep deprived is similar, and sometimes even worse, than those who are intoxicated.
Signs of Drowsy Driving
The National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll revealed that 60 percent of Americans have driven while sleep deprived. However, many people do not realize that they are engaging in drowsy driving or falsely believe that they can overcome their sleepiness. Signs of driver fatigue include difficulty focusing, heavy eyelids, yawning, drifting from your lane, feeling restless or irritable, and having difficulty remembering the last few miles driven.
Preventing Drowsy Driving Car Accidents
At least 100,000 police-reported car wrecks per year are the result of drowsy driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To reduce your risk of being involved in a drowsy driving car accident, make sure to regularly get a good night’s sleep and, if possible, take a 15 to 20-minute nap before driving. If you feel sleepy, drink some coffee or stop and take a break. When driving long distances, take regular rest breaks and take turns driving if traveling with a companion.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims of Drowsy Driving Car Accidents
Car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in South Carolina. If you have been injured in a drowsy driving car accident, contact the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We are here to help you get justice, maximize your financial recovery, and get your life back on track. Our experienced legal team works from offices in Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, Aiken, Florence, and Sumter, South Carolina. We also represent clients in counties throughout the state including Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County, and Kershaw County. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to schedule a free consultation.