There is no doubt in how dangerous falling asleep at the wheel can be. As many as 795 deaths were attributed to drowsy driving in 2017; and most experts agree that number is likely underestimated. Drowsy driving not only involves being sleep-deprived while operating an automobile, it also causes impaired judgment, slower reaction times, and it impairs your ability to focus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that in 2013, drowsy driving was the cause of 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and more than 800 deaths.
What Contributes to Drowsy Driving?
There are many factors that contribute to drowsy driving, including:
- Late night or early morning shifts: Not obtaining enough sleep before your scheduled shift can lead to drowsy driving.
- Driving for hours at a time: Taking that long drive home may cause drowsiness, especially if you decide not to take any breaks.
- Being a frequent traveler: When you are a frequent traveler, your time zones tend to change, which can potentially have negative consequences on your ability to stay alert.
- Drivers who take medication: Certain medications, including over-the-counter medicines, may cause drowsiness.
- Drivers with sleep disorders: An undiagnosed sleep disorder may be fatal for those operating a vehicle.
- A new baby: Newborns tend to wake several times throughout the night, leaving parents sleep-deprived and exhausted for their drive to work.
When and Where Drowsy Driving Accidents Take Place
There are three common factors associated with accidents involving drowsy driving:
- Drowsy driving accidents typically happen to drivers who are alone. There are often no other passengers in the vehicle. There may also be no skid marks present on the road, and no evidence of braking.
- Drowsy driving accidents frequently occur on highways or in rural areas.
- They most often occur between midnight and 6 a.m., or late in the afternoon.
How to Prevent Drowsy Driving
The only sure way to prevent drowsy driving is to obtain an adequate amount of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If that is not possible for the type of lifestyle you have, then a 30-minute nap before driving is recommended. Other ways to prevent falling asleep at the wheel include:
- Carpooling to your destination
- Driving with another passenger who is also a licensed driver
- Scheduling frequent breaks during long trips
- Pulling over on the side of the road when you feel tired
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured in Drowsy Driving Accidents
Drowsy driving accidents are an unfortunate reality for many people. If you or someone you love was the victim in an accident involving a drowsy driver, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you obtain the compensation and peace of mind you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us today at 866-881-8623 or 803-929-3600.
We represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.