The National Sleep Foundation sponsors Drowsy Driving Prevention Week each year in order to raise awareness of the risks of driving while fatigued. While dozing off behind the wheel raises obvious crash risks, just driving while drowsy slows your reaction time and increases your chances of causing an accident.
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week begins on November 6, 2016. Here are four things you can do to observe the week:
Understand the Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving is a nationwide epidemic. Almost 850 people died in crashes caused by a fatigued driver in 2014, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics.
This number was fairly consistent with the totals for each year between 2005 and 2009. During this period, an average of 886 people died each year. In addition, about 37,000 people suffered injuries in 83,000 accidents annually, reports the NHTSA.
The bad news is, though, that this does not tell the whole story. According to the National Sleep Foundation, these numbers are likely much lower than the true number of crashes caused by drowsy drivers. This is because it is almost impossible to determine a driver’s alertness before a crash without taking the driver’s word for it.
Get Plenty of Rest
Let us be honest; we do not all get the amount of sleep we need. And while most people write it off and just say they need another cup of coffee, not getting enough sleep greatly increases your risk of being involved in a drowsy driving accident.
Always be sure to get enough sleep (seven to eight hours) each night, especially before a long drive.
Teach Your Teens Safe Habits
When you discuss road dangers with tweens, teens, and young adults, do not forget to include the dangers of drowsy driving.
Growing and developing teens have a biological need for increased sleep. However, this need comes just as they are reaching an age where their academic and social lives call for late night studying, talking on the phone, and texting with friends.
This can be a deadly combination if they fail to get enough sleep and doze off behind the wheel. Ensuring your teens get enough rest — especially before long trips — can help them be better, safer drivers.
Learn Other Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving
To avoid drowsy driving, you should:
- Pay careful attention to medications: If a medicine lists drowsiness as a possible side effect, consider taking the bus or train, using a ridesharing service, or calling a cab.
- Not drinking: Alcohol is a depressant, so even one beer or glass of wine can make you sleepy. This is especially true when you are already tired.
- Remain vigilant during peak sleep hours: For most people, it is more difficult to stay awake between midnight and 6 a.m. than it is at 10 a.m. Knowing this can help you stay aware of your alertness level.
- Do not rely on caffeine for long drives: The NHTSA recommends having a cup or two of coffee and taking a 20 minute nap in a safe area if you need to remain alert for a short period. The best idea for safe driving over long periods, though, is to stop when you are tired and get a good night’s sleep.
Liability for a Georgia Drowsy Driving Accident
If a drowsy driver caused your Atlanta-area car accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can help you examine your legal options to recover money for your accident-related losses.
Call us today at 404-474-0804 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.