Many of us have been in the position of having to drive somewhere after a really long day at work or in the morning after we’ve been up very late. It may not seem like a big deal to get behind the wheel while you’re tired, but the truth is that drivers who are drowsy put themselves and others at risk of getting injured in a serious accident.
People often ignore the fact that drowsiness can impair their driving because there isn’t a law dictating when the driver of a passenger vehicle can and cannot drive. Drowsiness, they may argue, is not like drugs or alcohol. However, as we discussed in this article on our website, a person who has not slept in 24 hours exhibits the same driving behaviors as someone with a 0.10 percent blood alcohol concentration. Thankfully, there are several easy ways for people to avoid or minimize the risks of drowsy driving.
Before you ever even get in your car to drive somewhere, there are steps you can take to prevent fatigued driving, according to the National Sleep Foundation. These could include:
- Scheduling drives for times when you are normally awake
- Refraining from taking medications that cause drowsiness
- Driving with someone else in the car who can share driving duties
- Giving yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination so you can take breaks when necessary
Drivers who are already on the road and starting to feel a little drowsy can do things to stay alert like:
- Drinking caffeine
- Switching drivers
- Pulling over to stretch or take a quick nap
- Taking frequent breaks
These tips may help people avoid getting into an accident, but the best way to prevent drowsy driving is to get off the road if you start feeling fatigued.
Unfortunately, not all drivers make this decision. In fact, fatigue contributes to about 2.5 percent of all fatal car accidents every year. If you have been injured in a crash and suspect that a drowsy or sleeping driver may be to blame, you don’t have to carry the financial burden of the damages alone. You can work with your attorney to build a case for compensation against the appropriate parties.