We recently reported on the record number of traffic deaths on the roads of Southwest Florida last year.
With spring break approaching, we have also looked at the dangers of drunk driving. As we continue to highlight the risks of the road to start 2023, today our car accident attorneys in Fort Myers and Cape Coral want to highlight a largely hidden risk that is no less dangerous: Drowsy driving.
There is every evidence the roads of Southwest Florida have grown particularly dangerous throughout the pandemic and hurricane recovery efforts. WGCU reported Lee County had the second-highest number of traffic deaths on record in 2022. At least 123 motorists lost their lives on Lee County roads in 2022, according to preliminary data. The highest annual total was reported in 2005, when 150 people were killed on local roads. The first two years of the pandemic saw 107 deaths in 2020 and 118 deaths in 2021
Drowsy driving is a known factor in a substantial number of collisions. It is also an undiscovered factor in many more collisions for which it is not determined to be a factor of causation.
Drowsy Driving Risks in SWFL
There are a number of reasons why Southwest Florida is particularly dangerous:
- Large numbers of young drivers on the roads going to and from college, jobs, gatherings, or other destinations.
- Large numbers of vacationers who are pushing the limits.
- Sun, surf and days on the water can be exhausting, even for those used to the exertion.
- Older drivers who may have medical issues, including side-effects of medications, that result in drowsy driving collisions.
Even when drivers do not fall asleep at the wheel, exhaustion can reduce attention span, slow reaction times, and affect the ability to make good decisions, particularly in the event of an emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 25 adult drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel in the last 30 days. These collisions result in more than 50,000 serious injuries each year.
Signs you may be too tired to drive include yawning or blinking, trouble remembering the last few miles, missing an exit and straying out of your lane.
Drowsy Driving Safety Tips
Our car accident lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral recommend the following safety tips:
- Get enough sleep. Pay attention to sleep hygiene, which includes limiting screen time in the hour before sleep. Always strive for eight hours of sleep.
- Develop good sleeping habits. This is particularly important if you are a shift worker. But all of us should pay attention to our sleeping environment.
- Seek treatment for sleep disorders. Failure to stay asleep. Trouble falling asleep. Daytime drowsiness. Excessive snoring and breathing issues can all be signs of a medical issue.
- Pay attention to your medications. Speak to your doctor and pharmacist about possible side effects or interactions.
- Avoid drinking alcohol to excess, which can interrupt sleeping patterns. And never drink and drive.
Respect the risks. If you are too tired to drive, pull over at a safe location. Even a short nap can go a long way toward reducing the chances of causing a tragedy.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.