Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have concluded that “drowsy driving” claimed 846 lives in 2014.” The NHTSA have also found that it’s working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help expand awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving. Measures are being taken to alert the public to reduce the related injuries and deaths. The NHTSA reports that while people can drive fatigued anytime day or night, “drowsy-driving crashes most frequently occur between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late-afternoon – both times when there are dips in your circadian rhythm (the internal human body clock that regulates sleep,” says the NHTSA).
Because it may not always be easy to avoid drowsy driving, especially if you’re an adult with a job and family responsibilities, taking steps to ensure that you are better rested is a step in the right direction. Allowing your body to refresh, much like a machine to function properly, operating with three-hours of sleep make a 30-minute commute to work and back quite exhausting. In fact, parents of young children (or teenagers) are often some of the most sleep-deprived drivers on the roads. While we can’t control everything in our lives, like a teething toddler, or a new puppy who keeps us up at night, what can we do to reduce the risk of driving while fatigued? Here are some suggestions:
- Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. If you have to, go to bed earlier.
- Before you take a long family road trip, get a good night’s sleep. This way, you won’t put your family or other motorists at risk.
- If possible, avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
- If you do drive late at night, be aware of any feelings of drowsiness. If you need coffee, an energy drink, or cold air to stay awake, it’s time to find a place to sleep.
If you have found yourself involved with someone who may have fallen asleep behind the wheel, you may want to speak with an attorney, like a skilled Dekalb County auto accident lawyer. An experienced professional will be able to apply the specific laws of your state and determine if you have a valid claim. There will be many factors that contribute to building a case, and as this is a long term injury you need to be prepared to bring as much evidence as possible to your attorney. Though there is never any guarantee, it will never hurt to just speak to an attorney and view your options.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into fatigued driving.