Too Sleepy to Drive: The Dangers of Tired Drivers
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Falling asleep behind the wheel is a very serious problem. Did you know that tired drivers account for about 20% car accidents? Unfortunately, these fatigue-related crashes can often have catastrophic or even fatal consequences.
According to several studies, including one by AAA, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving drunk. This is because sleep deprivation affects concentration, judgment, and slows down awareness and reaction time.
How Common Is Drowsy Driving?
Drowsy driving is a surprisingly common problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 25 adult drivers report that they have fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days. This means that approximately 4% of American adults are at risk of dozing off while behind the wheel.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that adults who sleep less than seven hours per night are twice as likely to be involved in drowsy driving accidents than those who get sufficient sleep.
Some of the Risk Factors That Contribute to Tired Driving:
- Driving for long stretches or on monotonous roads with few exits or rest stops
- Erratic work schedules for shift workers
- Lack of sleep or poor sleeping habits
- Sleep disorders
- Taking medications that cause drowsiness
Driving requires all of your attention and all drivers need to be able to spot potential dangers that on the road. When drowsy drivers are are not as attentive, they place themselves and others at risks for suffering serious harm.
What Are the Dangers of Drowsy Driving?
Drowsy driving is a major contributor to car accidents and can have catastrophic or even fatal consequences. When drivers are too tired, they lack the alertness and awareness needed to make sound decisions while behind the wheel. Sleep deprivation affects concentration, judgment, and slows down reaction time, making it incredibly dangerous to drive while tired. Night shift workers are at especially high risk of drowsy driving crashes.
Driver fatigue can increase the risk of:
- Getting into a motor vehicle crash
- Reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, weaving, and tailgating
- Injuries to passengers and other drivers
- Death due to catastrophic injuries in a fatal crash
Tired Driving Versus Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal, but drowsy driving isn’t. It can still be just as dangerous. Studies show that people who are sleep-deprived have reaction times similar to those who are legally drunk, and the risk of getting into a car accident increases significantly when drivers don’t get enough healthy sleep.
Learn the Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving:
It’s important to learn the warning signs of drowsy driving so you can spot it in yourself or other drivers before it leads to an accident. Common warning signs of drowsy driving include:
- Yawning and/or rubbing your eyes frequently
- Difficulty focusing on the road ahead
- Experiencing heavy eyelids, especially on roadtrips
- Struggling to keep your head up
- Drifting from your lane & hitting rumble strips
- Forgetting the last few miles you drove
If you see any of these warning signs, it’s important to find a safe place to pull over and rest. You should also avoid driving late at night or for long periods of time without taking breaks.
Tips to Protect Yourself
In a city like Las Vegas that boasts a 24-hour culture, you may find plenty of commercial drivers who try to push their limits, taking to the road at all hours at any circumstances. While you may not be able to control the actions of others, there are steps you can take to help keep yourself safe on the road, which may be especially useful if you are planning a long trip.
Our safety tips:
- Get plenty of sleep the night before
- Take frequent breaks or visit rest stops
- Stop driving if you become sleepy; pull over and rest
- Using caffeinated beverages or energy drinks
- Avoid driving at times of day when you know you have insufficient sleep
- Use alertness strategies such as opening the window, or listening to music
- Report sleepy drivers who are swerving to the police
Swerving and other erratic maneuvers could indicate either a drunk or tired driver-so be sure to keep an eye out. You can help contribute to keeping the roads safe for all!
Getting Help After an Accident
Our Las Vegas car accident lawyers are here to offer our legal assistance and help answer any questions you may have about your rights and options.
If you would like to get in touch with our Las Vegas car accident attorneys, or if you were in a collision with a tired driver, call Shook & Stone at (702) 570-0000 and schedule a free, personalized case evaluation.