Are you getting enough sleep? If so, you may be one of only a handful of people in Pennsylvania who are making sure they get a proper amount of shuteye each night. The number of tired or fatigued drivers on the road is a growing problem, contributing to a problem with which you might not be familiar — drowsy driving.
Public officials tend to give a lot of focus to distracted and drunk driving, and for good reason. Drivers who are looking at their phones or who are intoxicated cause serious car accidents, injuries and deaths. However, drowsy driving is also a serious danger on the road that no one should be overlooking.
Is drowsy driving even dangerous?
Drivers who are tired, fatigued or drowsy regularly cause serious and even fatal crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy drivers cause at least 100,000 crashes and more than 1,500 deaths every year. AAA also found that approximately 40% of all drivers admit to having fallen asleep while driving at least once.
So, the answer is yes, drowsy driving is very dangerous. Despite this, drivers seem to be more worried about driving at night for reasons like poor vision and impaired drivers than another obvious risk factor — tired drivers. A 2020 survey found that only around 7% of drivers are concerned about falling asleep while driving at night.
What causes drowsy driving?
There are many different reasons why a driver might be too tired to drive safely. A big contributing factor to drowsy driving is simply not getting enough sleep. Adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep per night, so anyone who has had less sleep than this might be at risk for drowsy driving.
Certain prescription medications can also cause fatigue or drowsiness. Experts often advise drivers who start new prescription drugs to wait a few days before getting behind the wheel. This can help them be certain of how it will affect them.
What about drunk driving?
You might find it surprising to learn that drowsy driving is perhaps just as dangerous as drunk driving. This is because the symptoms of tired drivers tend to mimic those of drunk drivers. Some of the more dangerous symptoms that both tired and drunk drivers exhibit include:
- Poor decision-making
- Slowed reaction times
- Blurred vision
A drowsy driving accident is truly a life-altering experience. Recovering from a car accident is not always a linear process either, and you might be struggling with a great deal of stress and anxiety concerning your physical, emotional and financial health. While this can be a scary time of life, you may find that achieving compensation for your injuries can help address some of the damages related to your accident.