Drowsy Driving – A Bigger Problem Than Previously Believed

woman yawning while drivingA recent groundbreaking study from the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that about 10 percent of all crashes involve drivers who are tired. Previous U.S. government statistics attribute only one to two percent of accidents to drowsy driving.

Drowsy Driving Dangers

Drowsy driving accidents can cause devastating injuries, often forcing victims to undergo expensive medical treatment, lose wages while taking time off work to recover, and experience mental and physical pain and suffering.

Driving while fatigued is an underreported traffic safety issue, because it is difficult to detect. To learn more about the issue, AAA conducted the most in-depth research on drowsy driving ever conducted in the United States.

AAA’s study analyzed dashcam footage from 701 car crashes collected from a federally funded study that continuously monitored 3,593 drivers for several months. By observing how often drivers blinked during the three minutes leading up to the crashes, researchers were able to determine if the drivers were drowsy at the time of the crash.

The study concluded that drowsiness was a factor in 9.5 percent of all collisions and 10.8 percent of collisions resulting in serious property damage, airbag deployment or injury. These results are nearly eight times higher than federal estimates.

According to AAA, drowsy driving significantly increases the risk of an accident causing injuries or property damage. Drivers who slept less than seven hours the night before are at a much higher risk of being involved in an accident. This risk is equivalent to drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.

Drowsy driving also becomes a greater problem after dark. The proportion of drowsy driving accidents that occurred during nighttime hours was more than three times greater than accidents during daylight hours.

Preventing Drowsy Driving

Knowing the symptoms of drowsiness can help drivers recognize the problem and take action to avoid collisions. Symptoms include:

  • Drifting from the lane
  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open
  • Difficulty remembering the previous miles driven
  • Difficulty keeping your head up
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Frequent yawning
  • Blurry eyes
  • Missing exits and other road signs or signals
  • Tires hitting rumble strips

You can prevent drowsy driving by following these safety tips:

  • Sleep for at least seven hours every night.
  • Travel during periods of the day when you are normally awake.
  • Do not take medications that cause drowsiness or impairment.
  • Schedule rest breaks every two hours or 100 miles on longer trips.
  • Drive with a passenger who stays alert and who can take over driving duties if needed.
  • Take a quick 20- to 30-minute nap at a rest stop to improve alertness.
  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol.

Contact Our Lawyers for Help

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Request a free, no obligation consultation today. We will discuss your case and help you determine what legal options are available in your situation. When working with our firm, payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.

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