Driving Drowsy is Dangerous in a Big Rig or a Car
Author: Auger Law | October 22nd, 2018
- Drowsy driving is estimated to cause up to 6,000 fatal wrecks each year.
- Commercial drivers may be more likely than Non-Commercial drivers to drive drowsy.
- People who snore or sleep 6 or fewer hours at a stretch are more likely to drive drowsy.
When you are involved in a car or big truck accident, you are understandably anxious. Due to the catastrophic and powerful nature of car and big truck accidents, victims are often left with severe physical injuries, emotional turmoil, and financial difficulties.
Our Charlotte truck accident attorneys are here for you and your family if you fall victim to a drowsy driver. Here is some helpful info about drowsy driving.
Drowsy Driving and Big Rigs
No one can argue that truck driving is a tiring job. The occupation may not always require heavy lifting, but it does require driving for long stretches of time while remaining alert, something that can be difficult to do.
According to a study released by the University of Minnesota, Morris, commercial truck drivers who have obstructive sleep apnea and do not adhere to their treatment protocols are at five times greater risk of crashing.
Sleep apnea, a disorder that causes people to momentarily stop breathing when they are asleep, causes daytime sleepiness. This, in turn, can result in drivers who are too fatigued to be on the road. Obstructive sleep apnea is estimated to affect nearly 25 million adults in this country.
For the study, researchers looked at 1,613 truck drivers diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and 1,613 drivers without the disorder. They looked at drivers with similar experience and approximately the same number of hours on the road. The drivers with obstructive sleep apnea were all given the same prescribed therapy. Close to 700 drivers followed the treatment, 600 followed it partially and 400 did not follow it t all.
The rate of preventable accidents among truck drivers who did not follow their prescribed obstructive sleep apnea therapy was five times greater than those who did. Those drivers who only partially followed the therapy had a crash rate similar to those who followed it completely.
The study shows that untreated obstructive sleep apnea is a danger to transportation safety. The recommendation of researchers is to screen all potential commercial truck drivers for the condition and to treat those who are found to have the disorder. Both the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that they would be gathering more information on the effects of obstructive sleep apnea on their workers.
All Drivers Need to Be Awake
According to a survey of 150,000 adults, 4 percent reported falling asleep within the past 30 days. One of the best ways to prevent drowsy driving, aside from catching enough ZZZs at night, is to know the warning signs of drowsy driving. Even though we discuss commercial drivers in this post, everyone should know that ANY driver that is drowsy driving is dangerous whether they are in a semi or in a car, van, SUV, etc.
If you notice that you or your driver are showing any of these signs while you’re driving, it’s time to get off the road.
This is an obvious sign of being tired, but a yawn here and there also signals boredom. What you want to notice is frequent yawning.
If you notice frequent yawning in a short period of time, chances are high that it would be a good idea to take a break from the road.
- Zoning Out
We’ve all been in that place where we can’t remember how we got where we are. This is especially true of commuters who take the same route every day. Our brains go on a sort of auto pilot and we discover that we can’t really recall getting to work.
This is normal but still dangerous. It’s even more dangerous if you don’t take the same route every day and still find yourself wondering about the last few miles.
- Missing Exits
You’re driving down the highway and thinking about something else when all of a sudden you miss your exit. It’s not something to be too concerned about. It’s when you weren’t really thinking about anything else that you need to worry.
If you miss an exit, or several exits, you could be too tired to drive. It may be time to just pull over for a while and take a nap.
All the sudden you find yourself jerking the wheel to the right to get fully back in your lane. The next thing you know, you’re moving to the left to get back into your lane.
Drifting is a common sign that someone is too tired to operate their vehicle. If you find yourself drifting, ask yourself if you may be too drowsy to drive.
Those rumble strips on the side of the road are there to alert you to something. It may be that you’re drifting too far, or it may be that you need to slow down. If you’re hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road and aren’t trying to get off at an exit, you’re drifting.
The vibration and noise from driving on rumble strips will hopefully wake you up and make you realize that your driving is not at its best. If you can’t stay off the strips, it’s time for a rest.
Speak to an Experienced Charlotte Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you have been involved in a car or big truck accident in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, you need an experienced injury law firm like Auger & Auger on your side. Having an advocate by your side as you move forward after your accident is one of the many potential benefits of hiring our law firm. Call us today at1-855-969-5730 to find out more.
Call our team of Charlotte truck accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation and discover your options. We are here for you. Call today.