Each year, officials with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey drivers throughout the country to get an insight into their driving attitudes and behaviors. This year, officials with the AAA talked with drivers about their outlook on drowsy driving, as part of National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week (Nov 10-16). This annual campaign provides public education about the underreported risks of driving while drowsy, as well as countermeasures to improve safety on the road.
According to a poll from officials with the National Sleep Foundation, roughly 60 percent of driving Americans have driven while feeling sleepy, and more than 35 percent admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. However, many people cannot tell if or when they are about to fall asleep. And if sleepiness comes on while driving, many say to themselves, “I can handle this, I’ll be fine.” Yet they’re putting themselves and others in danger. What they really need is a nap or a good night’s sleep.
Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers understand that there are more than 100,000 police-reported accidents caused by drowsy drivers each and every year in this country. These accidents take the lives of more than 1,550 people and injure another 71,000. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since it’s so tough to attribute crashes to sleepiness. There’s no test for it like there is for drunk driving.
But would you know if you’re at risk for a drowsy driving car accident? Review the signs and be on the lookout for them next time you’re behind the wheel:
-Having a tough time focusing.
-Feeling heavy eyelids.
-Blinking a lot.
-Feeling of restlessness.
-Having a tough time keeping your head up.
-Having difficult remember the last few miles you’ve driven.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important that you know what to do:
-Stop driving immediately.
-Pull over and take a nap.
-Switch driving responsibilities with a licensed passenger.
To help to cut off the problem before heading out, make sure that you:
-Get a good night’s sleep. Most adults need anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to stay alert during the day.
-When traveling, make sure you schedule in rest breaks. You want to do this once every 100 miles or at least once every 2 hours.
-Bring a licensed passenger who you can switch driving responsibilities with.
-Avoid taking any medications that could make you sleepy.
Despite sizable numbers of motorists admitting fatigue behind the wheel, the majority surveyed indicated that they know it’s unsafe. Ninety-five percent of drivers reported believing it is “somewhat or completely unacceptable” to drive when they are so tired that it’s difficult to keep their eyes open, and 83 percent believe drowsy drivers pose a “somewhat or very serious threat” to their personal safety.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. Call for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. 1-800-283-2900.
More Blog Entries:
Keeping Teen Drivers Alive with “5 to Drive”, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 6, 2013
Car Accident Risks Skyrocket in Southwest Florida as Tourist Season Begins, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 31, 2013