It is a very common but often ignored safety threat to Chicago motorists and those across the nation: drowsy driving. Studies continue to show that thousands of drivers every year take to the roads when they are tired, drowsy, or exhausted and should not be driving. But it appears that the biggest danger of all is the believe among tired drivers that they are not a danger and that they can safely operate even though they are experiencing serious signs of fatigue.
Drowsy drivers can be as dangerous as those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, meaning they are more likely to be involved in an accident and more likely to injure another as a result. Armed with this knowledge, the National Sleep Foundation established a Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, an annual event designed to heighten awareness and increase discussion about drowsy driving and the dangers it presents.
This year, Drowsy Driving Prevention Week occurs between November 3 and November 10, 2013 and seeks to get citizens talking about their sleep and driving habits. With a new study reporting that motorists age 17-24 are most likely to drive while drowsy, there is a heavy emphasis to pass the message to that age group, known to stay up late at night while also waking up early in the morning, thus limiting the sleep each driver receives.
Perhaps surprising is the revelation that senior citizens are the least likely segment of the driving population to operate while drowsy. Increasingly, these drivers choose to drive during daylight hours only and with fewer demands on their time, like employment, there seems to be less exhaustion in this population.
But how are you supposed to know if you are too tired to drive? Experts say that you should monitor your driving ability and take note of warning signs, including heavy eyelids, excessive yawning, trouble holding up your head, difficulty maintaining position within your lane, repeatedly drifting towards rumble strips or the shoulder/median of a road, daydreaming, and a forgetfulness that prevents you from remembering the last several miles you drove.
If any of these signs of drowsiness appear, you should pull over and stop driving. Rest if possible or let another adult take over for a while while you nap.
The best thing to combat drowsy driving is to make sure you are prepared for any drive and to limit the possibility that you will be tired behind the wheel. To do this, make sure you get plenty of sleep every night, especially before a big road trip. Experts recommend at least six to eight hours but as everyone is different, you will know best what amount of sleep you need. Also consider driving with another person who will remain alert with you, helping you stay sharp while driving. Caffeine has been proven to help drivers stay awake when used responsibly and in moderation, so consider packing a soda pop or grabbing a cup of coffee for the road. Finally, avoid anything that may increase a tired feeling or bring on a sense of fatigue, like prescription medications or over the counter drugs. Pain pills, allergy medicine, and cough syrup are some of the most common drugs that also induce a drowsy feeling so be particularly careful around those.
Accidents continue to happen even when a driver does everything as safely as possible. If you have been hurt due to the actions of a drowsy driver, call our accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free telephone consultation. We have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day to take your call at (312) 924-7575. After an accident, let us help you towards the path of financial recovery.
Prior Blog Entries:
Chicago Premises Injury Lawyers Settle Door Falling Case for $160,000, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 4, 2013.
Think Safety First on Halloween, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 31, 2013.
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Raises Awareness of Potential Risks, by Sabrina Herrera, NBC Connecticut, published November 4, 2013.