On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Saturday, January 5, 2013
It has happened to everyone, at some point. You are driving, typically at night, and you sense your eyelids becoming heavy and you suddenly realize you head has dropped, and you “almost fell asleep.” Sometimes the shock is enough to startle us awake, at least for a time. This is a warning sign of drowsy driving.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study has found that 1 in 24 adults has had this experience within the last 30-days on the road. It is likely that this number is much higher, because people tend to underreport these type of events due to not even realizing they occurred. Some research suggests as many as a one-third of motor vehicle crashes are sleep-related.
Many Americans don’t get enough sleep. The study noted those most at risk get less than six hours of sleep a night. The CDC warns that those who work late shifts or rotating shifts that disrupt sleep patterns can be more at risk.
The CDC notes that drowsy driving crashes make up a disproportionate portion of rear-end and head-on collisions and are more likely to result in injuries.
This is because a drowsy driver who rear-ends another car would be unlikely to slow down or brake before the crash.
A significant problem with sleep-related crashes is lack of awareness, because many people fail to recognize that they are at risk and because they are “asleep at the wheel” may not fully grasp why they drifted onto a rumble strip.
If you find yourself in this condition, get off the road and get some sleep, as the CDC states “turning up the radio, opening the window, and turning up the air conditioner, have not been found to be effective.”
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Drowsy Driving – 19 States and the District of Columbia, 2009-2010,” January 4, 2012