The invention of automobiles was arguably one of the most beneficial in history. Cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs allow us to get around much more quickly than without, making owners’ lives much easier. However, because of general design requirements of motor vehicles to allow them to work properly, automobiles can be dangerous in many situations. Passenger vehicles weigh thousands of pounds and are not always easy to control. Distracted and drunken driving, as well as inclement weather conditions, often times leads to serious accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians. Unfortunately, an additional safety concern is said to be the cause of one out of every five auto crashes. Falling asleep at the wheel has become a serious traffic safety issue, with 21 percent of fatal crashes said to involve drowsy drivers. The NHTSA estimates that 1/3 of all drivers have either fallen asleep or nodded off while driving in their lifetimes.
The reasons for this high number of accidents caused by drowsy driving are numerous. Many of us underestimate the potential risks and dangers associated with driving while sleepy. We also overestimate our own abilities to fight sleep behind the wheel. Sometimes we feel that there is no choice but to get behind the wheel and drive, even though we know that our bodies are exhausted and need rest. For instance, many Georgians work early or late hours and must commute at hours that may cause an increase in drowsiness.
The recent switch to standard time has many of our bodies’ internal clocks off-balance due to the fewer hours of daylight. This could increase the number of sleepy drivers on Georgia roadways, so we’ve compiled a list of tips to avoid falling asleep while driving:
- Get the appropriate amount of sleep at night. Too little or too much sleep can cause tiredness. The suggested amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours per night.
- Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination so that you have time to stop for breaks.
- When you first begin to feel drowsy, it is important to take a break and rest so that you are at less of a risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
- Avoid driving at night if possible. The lack of light can make drivers more prone to drowsiness.
- When traveling long distances (more than two hours at a time), use the buddy system. If there is a passenger riding with you, ask them to help keep you alert. If you are alone in the vehicle, make a hands-free phone call to someone that will talk to you and keep you alert.
- Do not operate a vehicle while taking medications that may cause drowsiness.
- Use a drink of some sort to help keep you awake. Caffeine is the most effective, so coffee is a good choice when trying to fight drowsiness while driving. If you do not drink caffeine, it is still safer to have some sort of drink with you to keep you more alert.
Attorneys Andrew Jones and Chase Swanson specialize in representing victims who were injured in automobile accidents that they did not cause. Some of these wrecks were the fault of a driver falling asleep or nodding off while behind the wheel. For your safety and the safety of those around you, avoid drowsy driving.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an auto accident caused by a driver asleep at the wheel, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, missing work, and pain and suffering. For more information, call (770) 427-5498 today.