The Hazards of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving leads to serious car accidents and injuries. The California Highway Patrol recently launched a weeklong campaign against driver drowsiness, in collaboration with the NSF (National Sleep Foundation) and local police. The campaign is intended to alert motorists to the dangers of driving while sleepy.

Mercurynews.com reports that drowsy driving is almost as hazardous as drunk driving. The agency determined that after 17 hours of being awake, a person’s motor skills are just as compromised as someone who has 0.05 percent alcohol concentration in his blood. Our Illinois car accident attorneys realize that this is a cause for concern.

The CHP revealed that in California alone, drowsy driving was responsible for 32 deaths, over 200 injuries and more than 3,600 collisions in 2010. Nationwide, highway safety officials estimate the number of deaths to be 1,550, the number of injuries to be 71,000, and the number of accidents to be 100,000 each year. ,

One sales analyst who had first-hand experience of the dangers of drowsy driving proved that just like drunk driving, drowsy driving can also cause accidents. About twelve years ago, the analyst fell asleep while behind the wheel and hit a divider. Even then, he thought he could continue driving, thinking that he just had a flat tire when the impact actually broke his car’s axle.

The problem of drowsy driving grows worse during the holiday season with drivers going on long journeys for Christmas and other holidays. Typically, drivers start early in the morning or late at night to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams.

On the freeway, police watch for drivers that straddle lanes or speed up and slow down. A lot of drowsy drivers are caught during DUI crackdowns when they do things such as making unsafe lane changes, running red lights or crossing double yellow lines.

If there is no other person available in the car to share the driving, drivers should plan stops in such a way that allows them to stretch their legs once every two hours or just take a 15-minute nap.

A short nap of 15 to 30 minutes duration is always better than a longer nap for an hour or two. A short nap would alter the brain chemistry to the right level to keep drowsiness away for a few hours. A longer nap, on the other hand, would put the driver into a state of sluggishness that would take time to disappear, if at all.

A recent USA Today article revealed that motorists in the age group of 16 to 24 have a greater tendency to drive while drowsy, compared to other age groups. This is the conclusion of a new survey carried out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. According to the survey, one out of every 7 licensed motorists in that age group admitted that they fell asleep while driving at least on one occasion in the past year.

The president and CEO of the AAA Foundation believes that less experienced drivers are inclined to underestimate the dangers of tired driving and overestimate their abilities to drive safely.To combat this, automakers are developing technology that can identify when a driver is inattentive or falling asleep.

Also, a number of states recently set up rumble strips in the medians and along the edges of roadways. The strips are made in such a way that they create an audible rumbling and tactile vibration that passes through the wheels and into the car body when a car’s tires bump across them. This is how they alert inattentive drivers to possible danger.

If you or someone close to you was injured in a car accident caused by the drowsy driving of a negligent motorist, an auto accident lawyer can get you the compensation that you deserve.

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