Drowsy driving is a common cause of road accidents in Missouri, along with driving under the influence and distracted driving.
How much do you know about drowsy driving or driver fatigue? In this post, Missouri car accident attorneys highlight certain key facts about drowsy driving as well as its signs and precautions that you should take.
Some Facts About Drowsy Driving
As scary as it might sound, in a survey by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), about 60 percent of adult drivers owned up to driving a vehicle while feeling drowsy during the previous year. If that is not scary enough, about 37 percent (approximately 103 million American drivers) reveal they actually fell asleep while driving. The effect of insufficient sleep on the brain is similar to the effect of alcohol use. Another study found that lack of sleep for eighteen straight hours may produce similar effects as a 0.05 percent blood alcohol level (BAC). And a BAC level of 0.10 percent is equivalent to being awake for a complete twenty-four hours.
The likelihood of drivers who sleep about six to seven hours every night causing a crash is doubled, compared to those who sleep eight or more hours a night, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The situation is even worse in the case of drivers who sleep five or less hours a night. These drivers are about five times more likely to cause an accident. Driver fatigue is a major factor in about 100,000 accidents reported by police annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). More than 70,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths are said to result from such crashes.
Signs of Drowsy Driving
Difficulty in putting your thoughts together, frequent yawning, rubbing of the eyes, and heavy eyelids are some of the indicators that you could be in danger of drowsy driving when behind the wheel. If you also find yourself missing exits, traffic signs or turns, and drifting out of your lane, these could be signs of a problem. You may also be able to ascertain there is a drowsy driving issue if you find it difficult recalling how far you have driven.
Drowsy Driving Precautions
The most important thing you can do to guard against drowsy driving is to ensure that you get sufficient sleep before laying your hands on a steering wheel. You should make sure you drive only during the period you are most active and make plans for a overnight rest should the need arise. It is also advisable to rest every 100 miles or every two hours when going on a long journey.
It is equally important to make sure that you do not drink alcohol or any sleep-inducing medications, however little, before you commence driving. It would be helpful to get a partner if intending to drive for a long distance. The two of you can take turns at the wheel and the other individual can help you stay awake when at the wheel. When driving alone, make sure you get your vehicle parked somewhere once you notice yourself becoming sleepy.
If you have become a victim of a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, contact The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.
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