You know the feeling: You are exhausted and cannot wait to get home. As you’re driving, your fatigue kicks in and you close your eyes for just a few seconds. The next thing you know, you find yourself swerving to remain on the road. Many drowsy drivers are not so fortunate, as fatigued driving can lead to serious injury-causing accidents.
It doesn’t take much for fatigue to set in and have you nodding off behind the wheel. Society may be encouraging everyone to stay busy, but driving while drowsy is never a good idea.
The statistics paint a troubling picture
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), nearly 10% of accidents are caused by drowsy drivers each year. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that drowsiness behind the wheel leads to 100,000 crashes, 71,0000 injuries and 1,550 deaths every year.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that going without sleep for 18 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05%. What’s more, one in every 25 drivers has admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once. The reality is that driving while overly tired can be just as dangerous as driving after you’ve been drinking.
Why are U.S. drivers so drowsy?
Some of the reasons for drowsy driving include:
- Long work hours
- Interrupted sleep due to having a new baby in the house
- Staying out late with friends
- Long drive times on commutes
You can be more alert when you drive by doing the following:
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Refraining from drinking alcohol
- Being careful with allergy and pain medications that cause drowsiness
A cup of caffeinated coffee can help to wake you up a bit in a pinch, but it’s not a good substitute for actual rest — and you can’t do anything about the drowsy drivers all around you. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a drowsy driver seek assistance with recovering the cost of your medical bills and other damages.