The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says drowsy driving is a major problem in the United States. An estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers, 18 years old or older, reported having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days since being surveyed by the CDC.
There are some early warning signs that a driver may soon be asleep at the wheel. These signs include:
- Yawning or blinking frequently
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
- Missing an exit
- Drifting from the lane
- Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road
SleepEducation.org says that even one night of sleep loss or poor sleep can put a person at risk for drowsy driving. But, certain people have a higher risk of drowsy driving than others. Here is the SleepEducation.org list of risk factors:
Untreated Sleep Disorders - Many people with either obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy remain untreated. A common side effect of sleep apnea is severe daytime sleepiness. Narcolepsy can cause a person to fall asleep suddenly.
Shift Work - People who work night shifts or rotating shifts are at risk for drowsy driving. This includes people who work as doctors, nurses, truck drivers, pilots and police officers. The risk of drowsy driving is great when people drive home after work.
Medication Side-Effects - Many medications have sleepiness as a side effect. People taking these medications are at higher risk for drowsy-driving accidents.
Young Men - Drowsy-driving accidents are most common among young men in their teens, 20s and 30s. These accidents tend to occur between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.
How to prevent drowsy driving:
The CDC recommends the following four tips before getting behind the wheel:
- Get enough sleep! Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a day, while teens need at least 8 hours.
- Develop good sleeping habits such as sticking to a sleep schedule.
- If a person has a sleep disorder or has symptoms of a sleep disorder, such as snoring or feeling sleepy during the day, he/she should speak with a physician about treatment options.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make a person sleepy. Be sure to check the label on any medications or talk to the pharmacist.
What to do if you encounter a driver who seems drowsy?
There are some actions drivers can take to stay safe when they encounter a drowsy driver. The first thing to do is get to a safe location. Pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot to get away from a dangerous driver.
When safely parked, call the authorities. Report the unsafe driver and his/her location. Describe the vehicle and any other information you may be able to safely obtain, such as the license number, make, model and color of the vehicle.
“Drowsy driving can cause catastrophic accidents. Should you or a loved one be injured in a drowsy-driving accident, after seeking treatment, contact our experienced legal team at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.,” said Naples Personal Injury Lawyer Randall Spivey.
Naples Personal Injury Lawyer, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.