Everyone knows that drinking and driving is never a good idea, but many people are unaware of the dangers of drowsy driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving was the cause of 72,000 accidents and 44,000 injuries in 2013. Although the CDC only reports 800 deaths caused by drowsy driving in 2013, the organization believes these fatalities are underreported and the actual number of deaths is closer to 6,000.
Based on these statistics, it’s clear that drowsy driving is a significant problem. Here’s everything you need to know to stay safe on the road:
The AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety Study
A recent study found that drivers who miss one or two hours of sleep are twice as likely to get into a car accident as drivers who slept seven or eight hours. In fact, the more sleep that you miss, the more dangerous you are on the road. Researchers said those who only sleep four to five hours a night are just as dangerous as drunk drivers, while people who sleep less than four hours a night are just as impaired as they would be if they were twice the legal limit of alcohol.
Anyone can make the poor decision to operate a vehicle while tired, but there are some drivers that are more likely to do it than others. Drivers who take certain medications, have sleep disorders, or work long shifts are more likely to drive drowsy than other motorists.
How to Prevent Drowsy Driving
It’s recommended that you get a minimum of seven hours of sleep before driving if you are an adult and eight hours if you are a teen. Even if you are getting enough hours of sleep, you should avoid taking medications that list drowsiness as a side effect. If you’re unsure of whether it’s safe to drive while taking your current medications, consult with a doctor instead of trying to do your own research.
It’s also important for drivers to be honest with themselves and recognize when they are too tired to drive. If you start to feel drowsy in the middle of a drive, find a spot to pull over so you can change drivers or take a 15-20 minute power nap in your vehicle.
Have you been injured by a drowsy driver? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm today for the legal representation that you need to recover damages. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.