Sometimes we just do not get a good night’s sleep. Maybe we are pulling an all-nighter at work, are up all night with a crying baby or simply have insomnia. Still, we must continue on the next day as tired as we are. Some people will make the risky decision during their morning commute to drive while drowsy. Sadly, drowsy driving can cause a motor vehicle accidents that injure or kill other motorists.
Drowsy driving: the statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 697 people lost their lives in a drowsy-driving crash in 2019. In 2017, drowsiness played a role in 91,000 accidents reported to police. NHTSA reports that in 2017 approximately 50,000 individuals suffered injuries and a further 800 died in drowsy-driving crashes. However, exact statistics on drowsy driving are not always available. This is because clues that an accident was caused by drowsiness cannot always be identified or conclusive. What we do know is that drowsiness impairs our cognition and ability to maintain control of our vehicles. Simply put, drowsy driving is dangerous.
How can we prevent drowsy driving?
The biggest way to protect against drowsy driving is to get enough sleep every day. Adults generally need seven to eight hours of sleep nightly. Teen drivers need even more sleep. Another way to prevent drowsiness is to avoid consuming alcohol before driving. Alcohol can increase drowsiness, and no one should drive drunk. Also, know the side effects of medications you take. Some medications cause drowsiness, so avoid getting behind the wheel when taking these medications. Finally, if you do find yourself growing drowsy while driving, relying on a cup of coffee, fresh air or loud music may not be enough to keep you awake. If possible, pull over to a safe place and take a nap or better yet, stop driving until you have had adequate sleep.
Drowsy driving is a problem on our nation’s roadways, but it is a preventable one. Sadly, some people will continue to overestimate their capabilities and will drive while drowsy. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drowsy driver you will want to explore all your options for compensation including pursuing a personal injury lawsuit if appropriate.