Driving takes concentration and attention, two elements that are in short supply when a person is overtired. Getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy is a dangerous practice that is all too common in our sleep-deprived society. Common or not, driving a motor vehicle while operating on insufficient sleep can be dangerous for you, your passengers, and others traveling on the same roads.
The effects of drowsy driving are similar to the dangers of drunk driving. In fact, going more than 20 hours without sleep, which for lots of people means staying awake only about four hours longer than usual, has effects on the body similar to driving with a blood-alcohol level above the 0.08 percent legal limit.
Effects of Drowsy Driving
Many of the effects of drowsy driving are the same as those exhibited in people who are driving under the influence of alcohol or some drugs. These include the following:
- Inability to keep focus
- Lack of awareness of road hazards
- Weaving or lane departures
- Delayed reaction times
- Missed exits or road signs
Car Accident Risk
Drowsy driving makes drivers three times more likely to be involved in a car accident. Despite the risk, the National Sleep Foundation found that about half of adult drivers routinely drive drowsy. Also, twenty percent have fallen asleep behind the wheel in the last 12 months, a scary scenario experienced at least once in more than 40 percent of the study’s respondents.
How to Avoid Drowsy Driving
The first thing to do to avoid the dangers of drowsy driving is to admit that the urge to sleep is a powerful natural force and that fighting it while operating a motor vehicle is extremely dangerous. Powering through is not worth the risk. Failing to recognize the connection between getting adequate sleep and safe driving puts you and others in grave danger.
In addition to recognizing the link between sufficient sleep and driving safety, there are a few specific steps drivers can take to reduce their chances of causing a drowsy driving accident:
- Get enough sleep
- Be aware of medication side effects
- Use in-car technology, such as lane departure warnings
- Nap before your trip or mid-drive
- Drive with a friend, and take turns driving
- Drink caffeine
Edwardsville Car Wreck Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Represent Automobile Accident Victims
If you were injured in a car accident that involved a drowsy driver, you may be able to collect damages from the negligent driver. Our experienced Edwardsville car wreck lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC can help you collect compensation to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related costs. Contact us online or call us at 618-277-3644 to schedule a free case review. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we represent the interests of car accident victims in Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.