West Palm Beach Lawyer on the Best Ideas to Avoid Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving is a widespread problem on West Palm Beach roads and across the United States. It’s not only attributed to missing a few hours of sleep the night before -- it is part of an at-large epidemic of fatigue. With many people juggling work, family, and other responsibilities, many Americans are experiencing burnout and sleeping less.
In fact, studies show around 35 percent of Americans don’t receive the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. Additionally, around 20 percent of Americans suffer from sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, REM sleep behavior disorder, and narcolepsy.
Moreover, with daylight savings just around the corner, drivers’ sleep patterns may be thrown off until they can adjust.
Drowsy driving facts and findings
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 1 in 25 adult drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel within the 30 days preceding the study.
Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 72,000 traffic accidents, 41,000 injuries, and 800 fatalities in 2015 were attributed to drowsy driving. Estimates like this may not represent the true number of accidents caused by drowsy driving.
The signs of drowsy driving are clear as day, yet many drivers continue to ignore them. They may believe that they can continue driving just a little bit longer to reach their destinations – even as they begin nodding off.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, these signs include:
- Frequent blinking or weighty eyelids
- Difficulty focusing
- Poor memory of recent miles driven
- Frequent yawning and/or rubbing eyes
- Nodding off
- Trouble staying in lane or keeping a safe distance between other vehicles
- Missing exits and signs
- Restlessness and irritability
While there is no cookie-cutter way to mitigate the risk of drowsy driving, the National Sleep Foundation offers some tips on how drivers can stay awake on the road. These include:
- Take a short nap before embarking on a road trip.
- Take mid-drive naps on long trips.
- Drive with a partner and take turns driving and taking naps.
- Take your time getting to your destination.
- Stay sober, as even small amounts of alcohol can induce tiredness.
- Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m., as your circadian system naturally programs your body to sleep during this time.
- Consume caffeine to temporarily boost alertness - but know that the effect will eventually wear off.
Are drowsy driving accidents really accidents?
Drowsy drivers don’t choose when they fall asleep. If the body and mind are in dire need of rest, they will shut down on their own. When this happens, car accidents can occur at full speed – causing maximum damage and devastating injuries to crash victims.
While drowsy drivers never intentionally fall asleep at the wheel, they do make the conscious choice to drive when they aren’t in any condition to safely do so. When their actions cause someone else’s injury or death, they should be held accountable.
If you have been injured in a crash, you can put your trust in West Palm Beach personal injury attorney David J. Glatthorn. He possesses a wealth of legal knowledge and over 30 years of experience helping injured motorists maximize their compensation.
To schedule your free case review, contact David J. Glatthorn, P.A. today.