According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), one out of every 10 drivers has fallen asleep behind the wheel; one out of every eight car accidents that lead to hospitalization is because of drowsy driving and drowsy driving car accidents are responsible for 6,400 deaths each year. These alarming statistics mean that drowsy driving prevention is an important way to reduce car accidents in the United States.
The National Sleep Foundation has designated November 5-12, 2017 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. The goal of the campaign is to reduce the number of drivers who get behind the wheel while sleep deprived.
How can we prevent drowsy driving accidents?
The first step in preventing drowsy driving accidents is to increase awareness of the issue among drivers. A poll commissioned by the NSF was encouraging on this front. It showed that 97 percent of those polled see drowsy driving as a threat to safety, with more than 68 percent categorizing it as a “major threat.”
The next step to reducing drowsy driving car crashes is for drivers to recognize when they are too drowsy to drive before getting in the car. Here the poll was not quite as encouraging. Three out of 10 respondents declared that they do not know how many hours they could remain awake in a row and still be able to drive safely. Public education campaigns are needed to educate drivers.
- Daydreaming to the point that the driver cannot remember the last few miles driven or they miss an exit or traffic sign
- Heavy eyelids, increased blinking, dry eyes or rubbing eyes
- A feeling of restlessness or irritability
- Drifting out of the lane or running over a shoulder rumble strip
- Difficulty keeping head up
- Repeated yawning
Drowsy driving prevention tips:
- Drivers should avoid driving in the middle of the night or at other times when they would normally be sleeping. If this can’t be avoided then a nap should be taken before heading out.
- Drivers should never get behind the wheel after taking medication that has a drowsy side effect.
- If a driver gets behind the wheel and feel themselves nodding off they should pull over and take a nap.
- Drive with another person on long road trips
- Leave enough time to reach your destination that you can take a break to sleep.
Government officials and community leaders can use the following resources to help advocate against driving while drowsy: http://drowsydriving.org/resources/drowsy-driving-prevention-week-toolkit/
If you or a loved one was badly injured in a drowsy driving car accident through no fault of your own you may need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to fight for a fair settlement on your behalf. If the attorney takes your case they will assess damages, advise you on your legal rights, gather medical records, negotiate with the car insurance company and so much more. They will ease your burden so you can focus on healing.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!