Why Drowsy Driving Is So Dangerous And How You Can Avoid It

While many of us are constantly told about the dangers of driving while on a cell phone or under the influence of alcohol, drowsy driving is a lesser-known concern that causes tragedy on our nation’s road every year. Below, we discuss the dangers of drowsy driving and the steps you can take to avoid it and keep yourself, your passengers, and others safe on the road.

How Common Is Drowsy Driving & How Can You Avoid It?

While it’s difficult to measure the specific prevalence of drowsy driving accidents in the U.S., drowsy driving is very common. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found an estimated 91,000 police-reported crashes involving drowsy drivers in 2017. These incidents led to about 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths.

Essentially, drowsy drivers may experience fatigue behind the wheel for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Sleep Deprivation. Studies show that sleep deprivation leads to drowsy driving, resulting in mental impairments that are similar to being drunk.
  • Sleep Disorders. Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can cause a person to get disrupted, restricted, and less restorative sleep each night, leading to chronic fatigue.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is a sedative and can lead to sleepiness.
  • Medications. Certain medications are known to increase drowsiness.
  • Time of Day. A majority of drowsy driving-related accidents occur between midnight and 6 a.m. This is because the body naturally releases melatonin when the sun goes down, which is the chemical in the brain that causes sleepiness.

How To Keep Yourself And Others Safe

It’s important that you are able to recognize the signs of drowsy driving whenever you are behind the wheel. If you are exhibiting any of the following signs, you should look for the next available place to stop safely:

  • Frequent yawning
  • Tired eyes, droopy eyes, or unable to keep eyes open
  • “Nodding off” or having trouble keeping your head up
  • Not remembering the last few miles driven
  • Drifting into other lanes
  • Missing road signs or your exit
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road

Besides knowing the warning signs of drowsy driving, here are a few other steps that you can take to ensure that you don’t drive while drowsy:

  • Make it a daily priority to get sufficient sleep (7-8 hours a night)
  • Take frequent driving breaks if you are making a long trip
  • Avoid driving late at night or early in the morning, if possible
  • Switch off driving long distances with someone else
  • Avoid alcohol or other sedatives before driving
Injured In A Drowsy Driving Accident?

If you are injured in a car accident due to a drowsy driver, you need legal representation immediately. At Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman PLLC, we are committed to protecting the rights of those injured across Mississippi. With over a century of legal experience, we have the tools, resources, and knowledge that you need to ensure a favorable outcome in your favor.

Get the justice and compensation that you deserve by calling us to schedule a free consultation with our team.