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Why Drowsy Driving Is Dangerous

Why Drowsy Driving Is Dangerous

Americans don’t get enough sleep. An estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers have fallen asleep while driving within the past 30 days alone. These facts should be enough to convince you that drowsy driving is a bad idea…

A Common Problem

Unfortunately, many people still do it. The National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of people have driven while feeling sleepy in the past year. Even if drivers don’t fall asleep at the wheel, drowsy driving affects their ability to drive safely.

Being sleepy behind the wheel can:

  • Interfere with drivers’ ability to watch the road,
  • slow their reaction time for braking or evasive maneuvers,
  • and affect their ability to make good decisions.

Without meaning to, drowsy drivers can harm themselves or others. A late night with friends, long night with a new baby, overtime at work, or holiday road trip can lead to unimaginable tragedy.

What Does Drowsy Driving Look Like?

Being a little tired behind the wheel probably won’t hurt anyone but being drowsy or fatigued can have devastating results.

If drivers are experiencing any of the following warning signs, they should not be on the road:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Daydreaming or disconnected thoughts
  • Frequent blinking or heavy eyelids
  • Repeated yawning
  • Forgetting the past few miles driven
  • Missing an exit
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Unintentional tailgating
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road

Short-Term Intervention

Drivers who are experiencing any of the phenomena above should pull over and grab a cup of coffee as soon as possible. They should also know that coffee, tea, caffeinated sodas, and energy drinks are not enough to combat their sleepiness and may lead to “micro sleeps,” or brief (4-5 second) losses of consciousness. To temporarily boost alertness, drivers need both caffeine and sleep. After consuming their beverages, drowsy drivers should take a 20-minute nap in a rest stop or other safe, well-lit place.

Avoiding Drowsy Driving

In honor of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, which takes place from Nov. 3 – 10, 2019, we’d like to share some healthy behaviors that can help you avoid drowsy driving altogether.

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Develop a regular sleep schedule – and stick to it!
  • Talk to your doctor about sleep disorders and treatment options.
  • Do not take medications that make you drowsy before driving.
  • Avoid peak sleepiness periods: midnight to 6 a.m. and the late afternoon
  • If you’re feeling sleepy, take public transit or ask someone else to drive!
  • Keep an eye on your teen – they need more sleep to function properly

By following this advice, you are preventing drowsy driving and keeping yourself and others safe.

Feel free to share it with people you know!

What If a Drowsy Driver Causes an Accident?

With all of the knowledge and tools available, anyone who causes an accident while exhibiting the signs of drowsy driving can be held liable for injuries and losses sustained in the crash.

Ignoring fatigue puts others at risk and constitutes negligence.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in any way by a negligent driver, our attorneys at Politis & Matovina, P.A. can help!

Tell us what happened during a phone call to (386) 333-6613 or a free consultation at our Daytona Beach offices.