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Are You a Drowsy Driver?

Steve Wagner
Are you a drowsy driver? Chances are that you have driven on too little sleep at some point in your behind-the-wheel career, as new studies show that 21% of all fatal crashes involve a driver who was operating on too-little sleep. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation reports that being awake for 18 hours is equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, thus making drowsy driving as dangerous as drunk driving.

Especially during the upcoming holiday season when families tend to travel longer distances, often during inclement weather, Wagner Reese wants to encourage you to take safety precautions against drowsy driving, and also be aware of the warning signs so you can protect yourself and others on the road.

Drowsy Driving-Dangerous FactsIf you are traveling this holiday:

  • It’s always better to travel in pairs. Take turns driving, and try to help each other stay alert and awake if the hour is getting late.
  • Try to schedule your driving time during daylight hours.
  • If you start to feel drowsy, pull over and take a break. Get something to eat and drink, walk around outside for a few minutes, and call someone to alert them of your location and expected arrival time.
  • Try to avoid other distractions. Although people may recommend turning up your radio, rolling down your windows, or talking on your cell phone to stay awake, if you are so drowsy that you need major distractions to keep you alert, you are too tired to be driving at all. These types of distractions only detract more from your ability to operate a vehicle well, and the wisest choice would be to pull over and find a place to rest.
  • Take note of the warning signs for drowsy driving, and even if you feel alert, if you begin to exhibit any of these signs, switch drivers or pull over to find a place to sleep.
  • Are you having trouble remembering the previous few miles? If your memory feels fuzzy in relation to how you got to where you are, you may need to take a break.
  • Do you feel like your mind is wandering uncontrollably, or that your head or eyes are heavy?
  • Have you drifted out of your lane, heard cars honking, or felt your tires roll over the rumble strips?

One of the biggest risks our roadways face is the danger of tired truck and semi drivers. Although regulations have been made to increase the mandatory rest time for truck drivers, many drivers admit to doctoring their log books and driving through their break times in order to reach destinations faster. In fact, nearly 1 in every 2 drivers admits to falling asleep behind the wheel of their semi. Because of risks like these, semi trucks are responsible for one in every seven deaths on our highways, according to recent statistics.

If your employer is requiring you to drive through mandatory break times, or if they are placing requirements and deadlines on you that are impossible to reach without violating the 11 hour shift rule, you are at an increased risk for a work injury. If you have already suffered an injury from a truck accident due to lax regulations, give us a call to schedule a free consultation with one of our work comp attorneys.

Whether you are a civilian driver or you are driving on-the-clock, stay alert and stay safe. Don’t take any risks when it comes to roadway safety. Even if you have never gotten drowsy behind the wheel before, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you eventually. Be prepared to make alternate plans if you are too tired to drive, and acknowledge that tired driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving or distracted driving.

Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to a drowsy driver? The vehicular accident attorneys at Wagner Reese may be able to help you recover damages. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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