Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is a national event held each year during the first full week of Nov. This year, it takes place from Nov. 6 to 13. Every year, more than 6,400 Americans die in accidents related to drowsy driving, according to data from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
Drowsy Driving Is Impaired Driving
Driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleep deprivation produces many similar effects on driving ability, such as impaired judgement and delayed reaction time. In fact, someone driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep has the same level of impairment as a drunk driver with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent. Drowsy drivers also have triple the risk of being involved in a car crash.
Who Is Susceptible to Drowsy Driving?
Drowsy driving is a widespread problem in the U.S. A CDC report says that many drivers surveyed admitted to driving while sleep deprived, with one in 25 saying they had fallen asleep at the wheel in the previous 30 days. People who are more likely to be sleep deprived and susceptible to drowsy driving include the following groups:
- Teen drivers and young adults: Getting up early for school and staying up late to study and socialize prevents this age group from getting enough sleep.
- Shift workers: Working the night shift wreaks havoc on the body’s natural sleep patterns and can result in drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Medical professionals: Being on call, working long shifts without breaks, and working through the night can leave medical professionals drowsy when they finally get off work to drive home.
- Commercial drivers: Truck drivers are often pushing themselves to meet deadlines for getting their cargo to its destination. Even with regulations for taking breaks, some truck drivers are transporting goods while heavily fatigued.
- People with sleep disorders: Sleep apnea, chronic insomnia, and narcolepsy are all conditions that can cause daytime sleepiness and increase the risk of a drowsy driving accident.
Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications can also cause drowsy driving. Always read the label to be sure it is safe to drive while taking a medication and that it will not interact with any other medications you are using.
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is scheduled for the first week after the clocks change for the end of daylight saving time (DST). During this week, the risk of drowsy driving increases when losing an hour of sleep disrupts the body’s circadian sleep rhythms. Knowing the signs of drowsy driving can help prevent accidents. Pull off the road and rest if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Head nodding or jerking.
- Repeated blinking or yawning.
- Trouble focusing.
- Drifting in and out of your lane.
- Missing turns or exits.
- Driving over the rumble strips.
- Driving too closely to the car in front of you.
Mount Holly Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Advocates for Those Injured in Drowsy Driving Accidents
If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by a drowsy driver, speak with our Mount Holly car accident lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman. Call us at 856-751-2345 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we represent clients in Burlington County and the surrounding areas.