Sometimes we just do not get a good night’s sleep. We may be up all night with a crying child, working the night shift or perhaps we just stayed out at night too long with friends. This can cause some people to make the risky decision to drive while drowsy. Drowsy driving may seem harmless, but it is the cause of many serious motor vehicle accidents in Santa Ana and across the United States.
The statistics on drowsy driving in the United States
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2019 almost 700 individuals lost their lives due to drowsy driving crashes. In 2017 there were approximately 91,000 police reported collisions involving a motorist who was too tired to die. These crashes led to approximately 800 fatalities and 50,000 people injured.
Most drowsy driving accidents take place between midnight and 6:00 a.m. and also in the late afternoon. Most motorists who cause a drowsy driving crash are speeding and do not try to brake. Finally, most drowsy driving accidents often take place on rural roads and on highways.
Can drowsy driving be prevented?
The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. Experts state that most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. This is especially true if you are preparing for a long drive. Alcohol can cause drowsiness and should always be avoided if you are planning to drive. In addition, many over-the-counter medications and prescription medications list drowsiness as a side effect. Read the labels carefully before hitting the road.
If you do find yourself getting drowsy while behind the wheel, the NHTSA recommends drinking two cups of coffee and then pulling over to the side of the road or a safe place for a 20-minute nap. This can temporarily increase your alertness until you can quickly get to a place where you can stop driving and get some sleep. Note that this measure will not keep you awake for the long haul and should only be used as a stop-gap measure between driving and finding somewhere to safely get some sleep.
Don’t let drowsiness cause a car crash
Ultimately, you simply cannot control the actions of others who make the risky decisions to drive while fatigued. If you are struck by a drowsy driver you will want to explore all avenues of compensation including filing a personal injury lawsuit if appropriate.