The Dangers of Driving Drowsy
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 800 deaths in 2013. Sadly, falling asleep at the wheel has become all too common. However, the dangers don’t end there. Even driving when you are only tired or feel a little fatigued can result in an extremely dangerous scenario.
Driving while drowsy greatly increases the risk of an auto accident occurring. Drowsiness greatly impairs the driver’s ability to properly and safely operate a motor vehicle, including:
- Making drivers less able to pay attention to the road, signage, or other drivers;
- Slowing reaction time for breaking and sudden steering; and
- Affecting decision making ability, especially when faced with the unexpected.
Drivers who did not receive enough sleep the night before and drivers who are going long distances are most likely to have trouble staying awake and alert while on the road. The most common instances of drowsy drivers involve truck drivers. Truckers are often known to drive through the night in order to meet a deadline or keep to a schedule. Sometimes truck companies even encourage their drivers to do so!
Signs of Drowsiness
Being tired or drowsy while driving can lead to falling asleep behind the wheel. Signs that you are too tired to drive, include:
- Not remembering the last few miles;
- Missing traffic signs or turns;
- Having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open;
- Drifting from your lane or hitting the rumble strip;
- Frequent yawning or watering of the eyes;
- Constantly re-adjusting in your seat;
- Rolling down the windows to stay awake; and
- Turning on loud music.
If you experience any of these symptoms, consider not driving. It could save not only your life but the lives of others.
If you feel yourself becoming drowsy while driving, take a few simple steps to prevent an accident.
- Stay hydrated by drinking cold water. Caffeinated beverages can give you a temporary kick, but tend to leave drinkers more tired once the effect wears off.
- Make frequent stops and move around. Stopping every 100 miles while on a long trip can help increase circulation to your muscles and brain and keep you more alert. By getting out of the car and stretching, you give yourself time to wake up.
- Get plenty of sleep and don’t take medications, such as flu or cold medications, that can increase drowsiness.
- When in doubt, do not drive. Instead, find a rest area or hotel and get some sleep.
Protecting You and Your Family
If you have been involved in an auto accident in which the other driver was asleep or drowsy behind the wheel, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Judy Guice in Biloxi. Injuries related to motor vehicle accidents can be life-altering. By working with an experienced auto accident attorney, you can get the recovery you may be entitled to. Contact our offices today to schedule a free initial appointment.