Have you seen the signs along the freeway warning you about the risk of drowsy driving? The fact is that getting behind the wheel of a car after not getting enough sleep can have severe and sometimes fatal consequences.
Drowsy driving is a recognized danger on the roads, one that isn’t always taken seriously but affects millions of drivers each year.
Understanding the dangers
Going too long without sleep can impair your ability to drive the same way as drinking too much alcohol. Studies have shown that driving after 18 hours awake is equivalent to having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.05%.
The two leading causes of drowsy driving are lack of quality/quantity of sleep and driving at times of the day when you would typically be sleeping. When tired, drivers may experience slower reaction times, difficulty focusing on the road, and even falling asleep at the wheel. This can lead to an increased risk of accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Drivers must recognize the warning signs – difficulty focusing, frequent yawning, restlessness and heavy eyelids. If you are feeling sleepy while driving, pull over at a safe spot and take a break until you feel more alert. If possible, you should also avoid operating a vehicle during peak sleepiness periods (midnight – 6 a.m.). Also, if you take medications that make you tired or sleepy, talk with your doctor about how they may affect your ability to drive safely.
We may be able to control our own actions and ensure we have enough rest before driving. However, hundreds of other drivers still get behind the wheel while feeling the effects of extreme fatigue. You probably feel frustrated if you are injured because another driver fell asleep at the wheel. But you must remember you have options. Contact someone who can ensure you receive compensation for your pain and suffering.