Too little sleep doesn't go a long way when it comes to driving safely. According to the National Sleep Foundation's new poll, in the last year alone up to 1.9 million drivers were either in a car crash or almost in one because they were driving while drowsy. Unfortunately, many motorists are unaware that driving while exhausted or sleepy can turn into negligent driving and become grounds for an Orange County, California car accident lawsuit if someone is injured or killed.
Each day, about 250,000 US drivers fall asleep while driving. The National Transportation Safety Board says there are about 8,000 drowsy driving-related deaths and 60,000 serious injuries a year.
Groups most likely to drive while drowsy are young people, shift workers, truck drivers, business travelers, and people with untreated or undiagnosed sleeping disorders. About 40 million people are believed to be suffering from some type of sleeping disorder that may make it hard for them to stay awake during the day.
Drowsy driving, not unlike drunk driving, delays reflex response times, impairs judgment, clouds the mind, and makes it hard for a motorist to pay attention. Some studies indicate that a person who has been awake for over 20 hours exhibits an impairment equivalent to someone with a .08% blood alcohol concentration.
A sleepy driver may not even realize that he or she has nodded off. Even just shutting one's eyes for a few seconds can cause the driver to drift into another lane, into oncoming traffic, or off the road, resulting in an Orange County truck accident, motorcycle crash, pedestrian accident, or bus collision.
In an effort to increase awareness about the dangers of driving while sleepy, National Sleep Foundation has declared November 2 - 8, 2009 Drowsy Driving Prevention week.
Signs you may be drowsy driving:
• Your head keeps nodding downward
• You suddenly notice that you are tailgating the vehicle in front of you
• You can't remember the last few miles that you drove
• You are having a hard time keeping your eyes open
• Focusing on the road is proving a challenge
• You keep yawning
• You just missed your exit
If possible, pull over and take a break. Caffeine helps. A better solution is to get a good night's rest and don't drive while drowsy. If you have to drive for hours at a time, take a break every 2 hours or 100 miles.
1.9 Million Drivers Have Fatigue-Related Car Crashes or Near Misses Each Year, Reuters, November 2, 2009
Drowsy-driving tragedies preventable, Boston.com, August 3, 2009
Related Web Resources:
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Drowsy Driving, National SLeep Foundation
If you were injured by a drowsy driver, our Anaheim car crash lawyers would like to offer you a free case evaluation. We represent personal injury clients in Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Orange County, California.