Drowsy Driving: More Dangerous Than You Might Think

Gabriel A. Assaad
Partner Gabriel Assaad represents victims of negligence and medical malpractice nationwide.

Just about every driver has been tired behind the wheel at some point. After all, with today’s busy lifestyle, how can you help it? Although common, drowsy driving is quite dangerous and can cause serious accidents that result in life-changing injuries.

Why Drowsy Driving Is So Dangerous

The problem with sleep is, it will come no matter what you do. Drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel never plan to do so; it just happens. But before you reach the point of becoming so tired you are unable to stay awake, you enter the drowsy zone. Although being drowsy doesn’t seem like it poses too much of a threat, it actually does. Drowsiness can:

  • Slow reaction time if you have to brake or steer suddenly.

  • Make drivers less able to pay attention to the road.

  • Affect a driver’s ability to make good decisions.

The side effects of drowsiness can lead to accidents either directly or indirectly, which can put your life—as well as others on the road—in danger. Additionally, drowsy driving could be a bigger and more common problem than you may think. Consider this:

Who Is Most Likely to Drive While Drowsy

Although anyone is at risk for driving while drowsy and creating serious accidents that could result in injuries and death, some are more likely than others to drive while drowsy, including:

  • Shift workers who work the night shift or long shifts.

  • Drivers with untreated sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea, that cause them to wake up several times during the night.

  • Commercial drivers who operate vehicles such as buses, tow trucks, and tractor-trailers.

  • Drivers who do not get enough sleep.

  • Drivers who use medication that may cause them to become drowsy.

Typically, drivers who receive less than six hours of sleep per day are more likely to become involved in car accidents due to drowsy driving.

Signs You Are Too Tired to Drive

If you’re riding down the road near a vehicle that is swerving, accelerating or stopping, or displaying similar types of dangerous driving behavior, there’s a chance the driver is either drowsy. But do you know the signs that you may be too tired to safely drive? You may be at risk for causing an accident due to drowsy driving if you:

  • Begin to drift from your lane

  • Frequently yawn or blink

  • Miss an exit

  • Have trouble remembering the past few miles you’ve traveled

  • Hit a rumble strip on the side of the road

If you experience any of these drowsy driving signs, either change drivers or pull over. Ideally, taking a 15- to 20-minute nap can help to revitalize you A Yawning Driverand make driving safe again. However, if this isn’t possible, you may need to have someone else drive for you. If this isn’t an option, you may need to call someone to come and get you.

Although you can’t prevent every drowsy driving accident from taking place, you can decrease the likelihood by getting enough sleep. Additionally, avoiding alcohol and other drugs that can make a driver drowsy can help, along with receiving treatment for any sleep disorders you may have.

Drowsy Driving Victims Have Rights

If you were injured by a drowsy driver, it’s important to know that you have rights, and the attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, LLP, want to help you fight for them. Call 855-947-0707 to schedule your appointment to speak with an attorney and find out what we may be able to do for you.