In an effort to spread awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving, the National Sleep Foundation has declared the week of November 3-10, 2013 Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving crashes result in at least 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. Many people are unaware of the impacts drowsiness can have, and how dangerous it can be behind the wheel. Studies have shown that drowsiness causes slower reaction time, impaired judgment and vision, lack of awareness of important signs or other vehicles, decreased hand-eye coordination, and microsleeps, which are short 2-3 second sleep episodes. You may not even realize you have had a microsleep, but in those 2-3 seconds at highway speeds, you could easily end up off the road and in life threatening situations. What are the Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving?
- Trouble focusing, keeping your eyes open or your head up
- Daydreaming and wandering thoughts
- Frequent yawning or repeatedly rubbing your eyes
- Lane drifting, missing signs or missing exits
- The strong urge to go to sleep
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Drowsy Driving?
- Before a long trip make sure you get a full night’s sleep (between 7-9 hours)
- Schedule breaks in your trip; about every 100 miles or every 2 hours
- Arrange for a travel companion-have someone to talk to and to keep you alert
- Watch for warning signs of fatigue and if they occur, stop driving; pull over at the next rest area/ find somewhere to sleep for the night, or find a safe place to take a quick 15-20 min. nap
- Consume caffeine-2 cups of coffee is enough to increase alertness for several hours-just make sure you allow ½ an hour for the effects to kick in
- If you have a capable passenger with you, let them take over the driving
By knowing these warning signs and taking the proper measures to reduce your risk of drowsy driving, you can help save your life and the lives of others. Remember, it only takes a couple of seconds at highway speeds to end up in a life threatening situation. Don’t let it happen to you, your friends or your family-drive safe, drive alert! If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident as the result of another driver’s negligence, contact the experienced team at Finkelstein & Partners. We’ve been winning serious injury lawsuits for over 50 years and we are dedicated to helping you. Learn more about Drowsy Driving Prevention Week on the Sleep Foundation website. Sources: Drowsy Driving.org