Stay Safe on the Road by Avoiding Drowsy DrivingTrusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. February 20, 2013
Drowsy driving is a term used to describe a situation in which a driver is too tired to pay proper attention to the road, possibly to the point of falling asleep at the wheel. The consequences can be dangerous—and sometimes fatal.
Usually, drowsy driving occurs when the driver has not had enough sleep. This can be due to a number of reasons: from working long hours to insomnia.
However, it can be also be caused by driving for long periods of time. Truck drivers can be particularly prone to spending excessive time on the road. Moreover, the mere size and weight of the vehicles they drive makes it easier to get tired. This is why they are required to adhere to specific hours of service.
Other causes of drowsy driving include food, alcohol and medications. Driving on a full stomach can sometimes lead to drowsy driving for drivers who tend to feel tired after a big meal. Even a modest amount of alcohol is known to slow down normal brain function with disastrous results, and many medications can cause drowsiness, which cuts down on the level of alertness on the road.
According to a new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published in a Center for Disease Control report on morbidity and mortality, up to 33 percent of fatal wrongful death automobile accidents involve drowsy driving of some kind. In that same report, drowsy driving was linked with short sleep duration (which was defined as less than six hours a day) and snoring.
To avoid drowsy driving, you have to get enough rest. Seven or more hours of sleep are recommended for adults. Also, avoid anything that can cause drowsy driving, such as heavy meals, alcohol or medications.
Be aware of the warning signs of drowsy driving when you’re on the road. If you are frequently yawning or blinking, experience difficulty remembering the past few miles, missing exits or drifting from lane to lane, look for a place to pull over or park your vehicle. If you have a companion with you in the car, let him or her take over from you.
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Unfortunately, even the most conscientious drivers are sometimes seriously injured in car accidents in our area through no fault of their own. If you have been a victim of another driver’s negligence, a Tampa car crash lawyer may be able to help.
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