We all know it is dangerous to drive drunk, but what about driving when sleepy? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 56,000 car accidents occur every year in the U.S. because tired drivers get behind the wheel. Additionally, a study by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that 60 percent of adult drivers admit to driving while tired in the last year. With these types of shocking statistics, it’s easy to see that driver fatigue accidents are a serious problem on our roads.
The National Sleep Foundation’s survey also revealed some interesting information regarding the risk factors behind driver fatigue accidents. Some highlights include:
- Men are more likely to drive tired than women are. They are also more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Thirty-seven percent of adult drivers admit to having fallen asleep while driving in the last year. Thirteen percent said they do so at least once a month.
- Adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most at-risk demographic for driving drowsy. Drivers 30-64 are the next most likely.
- Drivers who work an abnormal schedule or night shift job are more prone to tired driving than those who work during the daytime hours.
- Twenty-three percent of adults say they know someone who has been in an accident due to falling asleep behind the wheel.
- More than 25 percent of adults who drive to work daily say they make their commute while fatigued at least a few days a month. Twelve percent admitted to doing it several times a week, while 4 percent said they do it every day.
- Adult drivers who have children in their household are more likely to drive while tired than those who have no children at home.
Additionally, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who sleep less than 5 hours a night carry 4 to 5 times the risk of driver fatigue accidents than those who sleep a full 8 hours a night.
Driving tired comes with a number of dangerous and serious side effects that could increase your risk of a collision, including slowed reaction time, impaired judgment and vision, an inability to focus, decreased alertness, and feelings of stress, anger, and aggression. Also, because tired drivers have trouble paying attention to the road, they tend to go faster than they normally would, exceeding the speed limit and putting them (and other drivers on the road) at an even higher risk for an accident.
If you think you may be too tired to drive, there are several warning signs you can look out for. If you start to show any of these symptoms of fatigue, pull over and take a nap before continuing on the road. You could prevent dangerous driver fatigue accidents from happening.
Warning signs of driver fatigue include:
- Excessive yawning
- Impatient or stressed feelings
- Heavy eyelids
- An inability to focus or pay attention
- Drifting from side to side in the lane
You can also decrease your risk of tiring driving by avoiding alcohol or large meals before hitting the road, using stimuli, such as fresh air, water, music, and more to keep you alert, taking a break from driving every hour or two, or bringing along a buddy to share driving duties with.
Were you or someone you love victims of driver fatigue accidents? You could have grounds for a claim and be due compensation for the injuries, damages, and pain and suffering the wreck has caused you. Get in touch with a San Antonio car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Pat Maloney today to learn more about your legal options.