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How to Recognize and Avoid Drowsiness Behind the Wheel

Steve Wagner

Drowsy Driving Can Happen To Anyone

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes and 1,550 deaths are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. Frequently occurring on rural roads and highways with a single vehicle carrying no passengers besides the driver, it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness. Investigators often conclude that a vehicle went running off the road at a high rate of speed with no evidence of braking.

Drowsy-driving crashes have a bad habit of occurring between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late-afternoon. These are both times when there are natural dips in the human body clock that helps to regulate sleep. Here are some signs that it’s time to pull over:

  • Daydreaming; having wandered or disconnected thoughts
  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
  • Feeling restless and irritable
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes

Sleepy Driving Solutions

One of the easiest ways you can avoid becoming a drowsy driver is to get enough rest on a daily basis. Sleep can be a true preventative measure against becoming involved in a serious accident or fatal crash. In addition to making it a priority to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, follow these suggested stay-awake tips from the NHTSA.

  • Before the start of a long family car trip, get a good night’s sleep, or you could put your entire family and others at risk.
  • Many teens do not get enough sleep at the same time that their biological need for sleep increases, thereby increasing the risk of drowsy-driving crashes, especially on longer trips.
  • Avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. Consumption of alcohol interacts with sleepiness to increase drowsiness and impairment.
  • If you take medications that could cause drowsiness as a side effect, use public transportation when possible. If you drive, avoid driving during the peak sleepiness periods (midnight – 6 a.m. and late afternoon).
  • If you must drive during the peak sleepiness periods, stay vigilant for signs of drowsiness, such as crossing over roadway lines or hitting a rumble strip, especially if you’re driving alone.

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.

We Can Help If You Were Injured In An Accident

If you or a loved one have sustained injuries as the result of a sleepy driver’s negligence behind the wheel of a vehicle, Wagner Reese can help. Don’t fight that battle alone. Let Wagner Reese deal with the insurance company, while you focus on recovering. Wagner Reese can help you get the compensation you deserve to cover lost wages, medical bills, future care, and the pain and suffering you are experiencing as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your personal injury claim with years of experience and proven results. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today at (888) 204-8440 for your FREE consultation!

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