Most people are aware of the dangers associated with driving while intoxicated, but many people remain unaware just how dangerous driving while tired can be. Drowsy driving is the combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue. Drowsy driving can occur when a driver has not slept enough, but it also can occur due to sleep disorders, medications, alcohol, or people who do shift work or drive commercial vehicles. Drowsy driving, much like driving while intoxicated, impairs judgment, performance, and reaction times. In fact, studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours results in a driving impairment that is equal to a blood alcohol concentration of .08, the legal limit in all states.
Drowsy Driving Is Becoming More Common
Drowsy driving is an epidemic that is rippling through our country. The dangerous thing about drowsy driving is there is no way to know the exact moment when sleep comes over the body. Each year, more than 100,000 police-reported car wrecks occur that were caused primarily by drowsy driving. Of those 100,000 reported wrecks, 6,400 resulted in death.
Drowsy driving is affecting all drivers – young and old alike, and it will continue to take innocent lives in our country as many remain uneducated about the issue. 3 in 10 Americans reported not knowing how many hours they could be awake without sleep and still drive safely. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than half of American adults report that they consistently drive drowsy. To take it a step further, approximately 1 in 5 Americans admit that they have actually fallen asleep at the wheel in the previous year.
Recognizing The Signs of Drowsy Driving
There are many signs that you may be too tired to drive, including: trouble focusing, keeping your eyes open or your head up, repeated yawning, daydreaming and distracted thoughts, drifting from your lane, missing exits or important road signs, irritability, aggressive driving, restlessness, slow reaction time, difficulty remembering the last few miles driven, hitting rumble strips on the side of the road, turning up the radio, and rolling down the windows. If you think you may be too tired to drive, do not rely on the radio, open window, or other tricks to try to help you stay awake. If you notice you are experiencing any of the warning signs of fatigue, find a safe place to stop and try to take a 15-20 minute nap, consume caffeine, or drive with a friend. Two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours, and a passenger who remains awake while you drive can help watch for signs of sleepiness and also can help drive if necessary.
Were You Injured By A Drowsy Driver?
If you are injured by a drowsy driver in Georgia, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and expenses, as well as pain and suffering. Contact The Champion Firm, P.C., today to discuss your options.