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Recognizing the signs of drowsy driving and avoiding it

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Car Accidents

There is an endless number of dangers on the Virginia roads. When people think about potential hazards, they will immediately factor in the weather, drunk drivers, distracted drivers, drivers who exceed the speed limit and those who are generally reckless. One issue that is underreported but extremely problematic is drowsy driving.

Drivers rarely realize they are too tired to drive before it is too late. For people who are sharing the road with drowsy drivers, they are in jeopardy and do not even know it. Frequently, this is categorized as a problem for long-distance truckers, but it can impact anyone at any time – not merely in the early-morning hours.

This is a worrisome topic for drivers and for others on the road. When there is an accident, it must be fully investigated to determine if drowsiness was the cause.

Drivers should be aware of how to address drowsiness when driving

Recently, concerns about drowsy driving were discussed in the context of Daylight Saving Time. According to AAA, the loss of light and changes to sleeping patterns tends to make drivers slow to adapt and may cause drowsiness behind the wheel.

AAA statistics show that 95% of drivers think drowsy driving is highly risky. Still, 19% confessed to driving when they were having trouble keeping their eyes open at least once in the previous month. Those who got fewer than five hours of sleep showed the same signs and had around an equal chance of getting into a crash as drunk drivers. If drivers miss an hour or two of sleep, their chance of an accident nearly doubles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also talks about the prevalence of drowsy driving and its causes. It provides useful tips to drivers on driving alert. They include making sure to get enough sleep with seven to eight hours being optimal. The NHTSA also says teens are vulnerable to drowsy driving and parents should emphasize the importance of rest before getting behind the wheel.

People who are on medication need to check the side effects and act accordingly before driving. Overnight driving is the most common time at which drowsiness is a worry for drivers. While it is best to avoid it, many people cannot because it is part of their job to drive during these hours.

Strategies that are used to stay awake like drinking coffee might have a short-term benefit, but it is not sufficient to drive for an extended period especially if there has not been sufficient sleep beforehand. Taking a “power nap” of 20 minutes or so can give drivers a burst, but they should know they are too tired to go for a long distance.

People will need help after a drowsy driving auto accident

Drivers are advised to take to heart the signs of drowsy driving and be vigilant about taking a rest to avoid it. Still, many might not realize they are too tired to drive or simply try to push through it to get to their destination under the mistaken assumption that they can navigate their tiredness and arrive safely.

People who have been in a collision with a drowsy driver need to seek help in conducting a full investigation to find out what happened and gather evidence. If the other driver was not under the influence and was not distracted, drowsiness could have been a primary factor in the crash. This could be key to pursuing a claim.

Contacting professionals who have a good reputation in Virginia, are eager to help people and are skilled in moving forward with a legal claim is a first step toward receiving the right amount of compensation to cover for all that was lost. That is imperative after any auto accident, especially one that might have been due to drowsy driving.