Most people would never get into the driver’s seat while drinking, but many of us drive even though we feel tired or drowsy. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of adults have driven while drowsy and around 30% of them have fallen asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In 2017, it caused 795 deaths.
Drowsy Driving Crashes
Drowsiness decreases drivers’ ability to pay attention to the road and slows their reaction time. As a result, accidents are more likely to happen when a driver is tired. Drowsy driving crashes occur most frequently between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late afternoon. Typically, single drivers with no passengers are the ones who veer off the road after falling asleep. These accidents occur most frequently on rural roads and highways.
Many of us don’t feel 100% alert, 100% of the time. Nevertheless, there are a few warning signs that suggest you are too drowsy to be driving:
- Yawning or blinking frequently
- Missing turns or exits
- Difficulty remembering parts of your drive
- Drifting from your lane
- Drifting into the shoulder or hitting a rumble strip
If you recognize any of these warning signs while you are driving, you will need to remedy the situation immediately. If there is another licensed driver in the car, ask them to take over for a while. If not, stop for a cup of coffee and a 20-minute nap. In the event that your drive is far from over, consider getting a hotel room and resuming your drive after a full night of sleep.
What if a Drowsy Driver Hits Me?
Even if you always drive well-rested and alert, you cannot control the behaviors of others. If you get into a car accident and notice that the driver who caused it seems sleepy, you should talk to an attorney right away.
At Whiteman, Hamilton & Conklin, LLC, we have over 80 years of combined experience and can advise you on next steps you may want to take. To find out if you have a case, call us at (404) 800-4661 and request a free consultation today.