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Drowsy Driving Car Accidents: Know Your Risks

Most of us are aware of the dangers posed by speeding and driving while distracted or under the influence. However, one of the biggest culprits in crashes and collisions resulting in serious personal injuries often goes undetected. Drowsy driving, which involves operating a motor vehicle when you are excessively tired or fatigued, mimics many of the same effects as driving drunk. To protect yourself and your passengers, learn more about drowsy driving car accidents and know your risks.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Raises Awareness Of The Dangers

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) schedules Drowsy Driving Prevention Week each year to coincide with time changes, which is when we ‘fall back’ from daylight savings time in the fall. The earlier nightfall can make you feel generally more tired, decreasing your alertness and making drowsy driving-related car accidents more likely to happen.

The NSF warns that as there are no tests for drowsy driving, and official records rely solely on self-reporting, the risks have likely been understated in recent years. They estimate that drowsy driving may be a factor in more than 50 percent of all car accidents. They also warn that drowsy driving can mimic the effects of alcohol when it comes to your driving abilities. In addition to the potential danger of actually falling asleep behind the wheel, common impacts drivers are likely to suffer when they are tired include:

  • Poor vision due to tired and watery eyes

  • Decreased reflexes and response times, which can make them less likely to respond appropriately to unexpected events

  • Reduced coordination, making it harder to steer, operate brakes, or coordinate other driving tasks

  • Lack of attention, making it more likely for them to get distracted

  • Poor judgement, making them more likely to engage in other dangerous driving behaviors

Assess Your Drowsy Driving Car Accident Risks

Driving at night increases the likelihood of drowsy driving, but there are other factors that could be impacting your ability to stay awake and alert as well. People most likely to be at risk for drowsy driving include:

  • Those with sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or sleep apnea

  • People who work swing shifts or hold multiple jobs

  • Parents with newborns or young children who get up during the night

  • College students, who may stay up late studying for exams

  • People with active social lives, which often deprive them of needed sleep

  • Anyone taking medications which may list drowsiness as a side effect.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises that short term interventions, such as drinking coffee, opening car windows, and blasting the car radio are unlikely to be enough to prevent tiredness from impacting your driving skills. Instead, they recommend keeping a regular schedule which includes a solid eight hours of sleep or looking for alternate forms of transportation.

Contact an Aiken Car Accident Attorney

Although it’s easy to know the risks, drowsy driving car accidents still do occur. At the Surasky Law Firm, LLC, we represent victims of drowsy driving related car accidents. To find out how we can help you get the compensation you need to recover in a claim, contact our Aiken personal injury attorney and request a consultation today.

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