The dangers of falling asleep behind the wheel

Driver fatigue causes a significant number of vehicle accidents every year. In fact, such accidents are more prevalent than many people realize.

What is the prevalence of accidents resulting from fatigued driving?

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports the following annual statistics regarding drowsy driving accidents:

  • The police report approximately 100,000 crashes
  • Of that number, 800 involve fatalities
  • Injury estimates are 50,000

However, many drowsy driving crashes go unreported. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that more than three times as many of these crashes occur than police reports indicate. Estimates suggest that 350% more drowsy driving fatalities occur than are reported.

What are some signs of being too tired to drive?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine lists the following signs of drowsy driving:

  • Trouble keeping your eyes open
  • Frequent yawning
  • Your head nodding off or dropping
  • No memory of driving for a few miles
  • Drifting into another lane
  • Trouble maintaining the car speed
  • Driving by turns or road signs

What precautions can you take against driver fatigue?

  • For teenagers. Ensure they get enough sleep. The CDC recommends 8-10 hours every night. Discuss drowsy driving with your teens and set safety rules.
  • Crash avoidance technologies. You can acquire vehicle software that alerts you if you exhibit signs of fatigued driving. Some cars have software with lane departure warnings.
  • Get enough sleep. Adults should get seven or more hours of sleep a night, according to the American Academy of sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.
  • Medication labels. Side effect warnings on medications are not always clear, but many medications have guidelines that warn against driving.

Were you or your loved one seriously injured due to a fatigued driving accident?

The Law Office of Michael R. De La Paz has extensive experience helping victims  recover compensation in car accidents and tractor trailer crashes. We assist clients nationwide and also in areas throughout Texas, such as Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, South Padre Island and other areas statewide. Arrange a free consultation today to evaluate your potential case.