The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Safe driving

All drivers recognize the dangers associated with falling asleep at the wheel, but driving a car when feeling tired or drowsy still poses risks to anyone on a roadway. Drowsy driving has become its own category for risk, particularly for certain members of the community. Knowing the signs of drowsiness and who is at risk for drowsy driving can help safeguard against accidents.

Signs of Drowsy Driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), driving while feeling drowsy triggers some of the same dangerous driving responses as driving while intoxicated. Being sleepy can interfere with clear vision and slow reaction time, and can affect the driver’s ability to make safe judgment calls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has linked specific characteristics of traffic accidents with drowsy driving. These include:

  • No obvious signs of avoiding the accident
  • The driver was the only occupant of the vehicle
  • The vehicle went off the road
  • The crash occurred on a high-speed road
  • The crash occurred during early morning or late afternoon and evening hours

Causes of Drowsy Driving

Many circumstances can contribute to someone feeling drowsy. Factors can include general sleep deprivation, untreated sleep disorders, the consumption of alcohol or medications that cause drowsiness, or long periods of non-stop driving.

Signs of drowsiness include:

  • Yawning
  • Inability to focus
  • Disconnected thinking
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Inattention to details or posted signs or exits
  • Repeated blinking to keep the eyes open
  • Nodding
  • Irritability

Who Is at Risk?

Commercial truck drivers have developed a reputation of driving while fatigued because of extremely long periods of driving to maximize productivity. New regulations have been placed in order to prevent accidents caused by fatigued driving. Similarly, shift workers, drivers suffering from untreated sleep disorders, male drivers under the age of 30, and frequent travelers that experience jet lag are all at an increased risk of becoming drowsy while driving. Though these drivers are at a higher risk, all drivers should be aware of any feelings of drowsiness before getting behind the wheel.

The Bottom Line

The NHTSA indicates that drowsiness contributes to 100,000 auto accidents each year, and since incidents of drowsy driving are considered unreported, a more accurate number is probably even higher. There are steps drivers can take to minimize the chance of causing an accident due to drowsy driving. For example, avoiding sedatives and alcohol, and ensuring that you are adequately rested can improve the odds that you will remain alert while behind the wheel.

The Bottaro Law Firm, LLC can help if you are the victim of a drowsy driving accident. Call us today or fill out our online contact form. A dependable Rhode Island personal injury lawyer will contact you about your claim. Experienced in practicing personal injury law, Attorney Mike Bottaro is capable of representing you to help you receive compensation for your injuries. Drowsy driving is a form of negligence and the Bottaro Law Firm can play an instrumental role in making sure that justice is served and you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Call today for a consultation on your claim.