Whether fatigue is caused by a newborn baby or long work hours, it can seriously affect a person’s daily actions, including driving. In 2017, 91,000 crashes reported by police involved drowsy drivers. The terms “drowsy driving”, “fatigue” and “sleepy” are used interchangeably, they all mean the same thing. Defined as a dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness, drowsy driving can affect anyone, at any time. Because of how common it is, it’s important to identify the signs in order to keep yourself and the other drivers on the road safe.
According to a Jersey City car accident attorney, “Unfortunately accidents can cause life-altering injuries that force victims to deal with thousands of dollars in medical bills, physical and mental pain and suffering, and endure a complete or partial loss in the quality of their life.” Learn more about how to identify the signs of drowsy driving and when to stop and rest.
How Common is Drowsy Driving?
In today’s world, it’s common for people to work longer hours, drive farther for commutes, and have a harder time signing off from work after 8 hours. All of this can lead to exhaustion and a lack of focus. This lack of focus from being tired can negatively affect a person’s driving by impairing motor skills, spatial judgement, cognition and performance. In addition to exhaustion being a reason behind drowsy driving, some medications can cause users to become disoriented and affect their driving as well.
What are the Signs of Drowsy Driving
In many cases, it can be difficult to spot drowsy driving in both yourself and others on the road. Here are a few of the most common signs of drowsy driving:
- Blinking or yawning frequently
- Difficulty remembering how far you’ve traveled
- Drifting between lanes
- Hitting a rumble strip on the outside part of the lane
Who is the Most Likely to Drive While Fatigued?
While drowsy driving can affect anyone, there are groups of people that are more likely to be affected. This can include those who drive for work-related trips, such as commercial truck drivers and drivers who work late or overnight shifts. Other people that can be affected are those that take medication that causes drowsiness, drivers with untreated sleep disorders, and drivers who do not get enough sleep.
How to Prevent Drowsy Driving
Unfortunately, drowsy driving has the same effects as drunk driving. The lack of coordination and judgement in both situations can lead to devastating car accidents. Just as drunk driving can be prevented, so can drowsy driving. To prevent drowsy driving, get enough sleep! For adults, this can range between 7-9 hours. In addition to getting enough sleep, developing positive sleep habits is crucial. This can include having a set schedule, setting the room to a comfortable temperature and using black-out curtains.
Driving is a privilege that sometimes is taken for granted. It’s important to do your part in order to avoid causing stressful situations or both yourself and other drivers. Practice safe driving by ensuring you are alert and focused on the road.