Most people know that distracted driving is a problem. One of the most widely talked about distractions is texting and cell phone use. What most people don’t talk about often is drowsy driving, which is responsible for injuring around 40,000 people in car accidents each year.
A Widespread Problem
According to the United States Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving is behind 100,000 or more car accidents annually. The studies conducted by the agency looked only at accidents that occurred at night, creating the high possibility of even more than 100,000 accidents being attributed to drowsy driving each year. Likewise, the studies look at single-vehicle crashes rather than those involving multiple vehicles.
Commonalities in Drowsy Driving Accidents
There are some characteristics that are common in drowsy driving accidents. These include:
Most accidents attributed to drowsy driving occur late at night or early in the morning: people driving between the hours of midnight and 8:00 a.m. The remainder of the accidents tend to occur between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. These are the times that the body’s clock makes us sleepy.
2. Single Drivers
According to one study, vehicle crashes caused by drowsy driving involve a single driver in 82 percent of occurrences. It is thought that this is because a single driver has no one to help keep them alert. When there are passengers in the vehicle, they will notice when the driver is tired and keep them awake or take a turn behind the wheel.
3. No Avoidance
When accident investigators look at a crash scene involving a drowsy driver, they often notice that there was no evident attempt to avoid the accident. There are normally no skid marks on the scene, and witnesses do not see brake lights and report not seeing the car swerve.
The Riskiest Drivers
When it comes to people involved in drowsy driving accidents, there are those who are more at risk than others. Young men are more likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash. Shift workers, those who travel for business, and people who do not regularly get enough sleep are also at risk for being in this type of accident.
Drivers who are on medications for which drowsiness is a side effect are also at risk for drowsy driving accidents. People who are intoxicated and those who suffer with sleep disorders are also at risk.
Preventing Drowsy Driving
There are three ways that people can prevent drowsy driving. The first thing to do is to make sure that you get enough sleep at night. Secondly, pull over if you are driving over long distances and feel yourself getting sleepy. Get some rest before you continue down the road. The last thing to do is to avoid drugs, medication and alcohol before driving.
If you are involved in a car accident in North Carolina and suffer injury or property damage, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our team of experienced attorneys for a free case evaluation. Learn about your legal options today.