Drowsy Driving Prevention Week begins November 1, 2020, and is a good time to remember that drowsy driving is effectively impaired driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year, there are about 100,000 police-reported crashes that involve drowsy driving. These accidents result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The real numbers may be much higher, however, as there is no way to test whether a driver is drowsy.
Effects of Drowsy Driving
When a driver is fatigued or drowsy, it is almost as if they are under the influence of alcohol. Drivers’ reaction time, awareness of hazards, and the ability to assess a dangerous situation are all impaired. Studies have shown that driving after more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit. A driver may not even know they are fatigued because the signs may be hard to identify.
Signs You Are Too Drowsy to Drive
There are a number of signs and symptoms to look out for that could indicate that you are too drowsy to drive safely. These signs include:
- Frequent yawning or difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Nodding off or having trouble keeping your head up
- Inability to remember the last few miles of your drive
- Missing turns or road signs
- Difficulty maintaining your speed.
- Drifting out of your lane of traffic
If you notice these signs while you are driving, it is important that you pull over immediately to avoid an accident.
Interventions That Can Prevent Drowsy Driving
There are interventions that can be taken to prevent drowsy driving. Some of these include:
- Crash avoidance technology—technologies such as drowsiness alerts and lane departure prevention can detect drowsy driving behavior and warn drivers to pull over.
- College interventions—the majority of drowsy drivers are college students who frequently don’t get enough sleep. Education programs aimed at college students could raise awareness of drowsy driving.
- Adequate sleep—the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
- Medication labels—advising the users of medications that cause drowsiness that they should not drive could be helpful
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by drowsy driving, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney. Gregg Goldfarb has over 25 years of experience helping the victims of car accidents. Contact us online or call us at 305-374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.