Drowsy Driving: A More Serious Problem Than You Think

The Fort Worth car accident attorneys at the Anderson Law Firm know that sleep and sleep-related car accidents are among the most under rated and under reported safety issues facing drivers today.

One recent survey found that 25 percent of Americans report not getting enough sleep, while another 10 percent habitually drive while tired. According to the Centers for Disease Control, sleep-deprivation and sleep-related disorders have been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents.

The CDC also reports that drowsy driving has been linked to 100,000 car accidents, 71,000 injuries and 1,500 car accident fatalities each year nationwide. Based on a 2009 Sleep in American survey, it is estimated that one in three drivers have driven while impaired by drowsiness within the last month and another 20 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel.

Many of us tend to underestimate the negative effects associated with fatigue and sleep deprivation and overestimate our abilities to overcome them while driving. Unfortunately, too many drivers have adopted the I'm tired, but I can make it' mentality. Just because you feel you are able to drive, does not mean that you really are. Please be careful when you are driving and feel a little tired.

The following tips will help drivers avoid drowsy driving and recognize signs they may be falling asleep:

  •   Normalize your sleep schedule with the goal of getting 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily. Create a sleep-friendly environment - cool, dark, quiet and free of distractions.
  •   While consuming caffeine can temporarily reduce feelings of drowsiness, a better short-term fix while on the road is pulling over for a 15 to 20 minute cat nap. On longer trips, plan to stop every 100 miles or two hours.
  •   Signs that a driver may be falling asleep include: difficulty focusing, rubbing your eyes repeatedly, wandering thoughts, literally nodding off, lane drifting, rolling down the windows or turning the radio up, fidgeting and poor judgment.

If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence of driving while fatigued, please contact the Anderson Law Firm for a free consultation.

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