Not Getting Enough Sleep? How Drowsy Driving Increases Car Accident Risks
Juggling a busy work schedule with home and social obligations can interfere with getting enough sleep. Even if you have a full eight hours set aside, insomnia and other types of sleep disorders can prevent you from getting the rest you need. Unfortunately, in addition to putting your health at risk, lack of sleep increases personal injuries and makes car accidents more likely to happen. Not getting enough sleep? Learn how drowsy driving increases car accident risks.
How Being Tired Impacts Your Driving Abilities
Not getting enough sleep and getting behind the wheel of a car can put you, your passengers, and others on the road at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving is a leading cause of car accidents, resulting in serious personal injuries for close to 50,000 people each year.
Lack of sleep is a common problem and the CDC warns that studies show as many as one out of every 25 drivers admit to nodding off while driving at some point in any given month. Those most at risk for drowsy driving include:
● People who work nights or swing shift workers
● Those who work overtime or at multiple jobs
● Commercial truck drivers, who typically spend long periods of time on the road
● New parents, who often get deprived of sleep
● College students, who may pull all-nighters studying
● People who take medications that have drowsiness as a side effect
● Anyone who suffers from insomnia, sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders
Being tired and suffering a lack of sleep can have impacts on your driving abilities that are similar to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These include increased risk of distraction, lack of coordination, slower response times, vision impairments, and poor judgment.
Preventing Drowsy Driving Car Accidents
Drowsy driving car accidents can happen at any time of day but they are more likely at night and during the early morning hours. Keep alert for signs that other drivers may be struggling to stay awake, such as veering from lane to lane, driving at erratic speeds, disregarding stop signs or other traffic signals, and hitting curbs or median strips.
If health conditions or situations in your life put you at risk for drowsy driving, be aware of the steps you can take to protect yourself and others. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that common tricks, such as drinking coffee, turning up the radio, or keeping windows rolled down, generally do not work. Instead, try the following:
● Make getting enough sleep a top priority
● Avoid taking certain medications before getting behind the wheel
● Be aware of drowsy driving warning signs, such as excessive yawning and trouble focusing on the road
● If you exhibit any of the above or begin nodding off, pull over immediately and take a short nap.
Contact Our Aiken Car Accident Attorney
If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s important to understand how drowsy driving increases car accident risks. When drowsy driving-related car accidents leave you suffering personal injuries, the Surasky Law Firm helps you get the compensation you need to recover. Contact our Aiken car accident attorney online to request a consultation today.