Staying awake at the wheel -- it's a lot harder than you might think.
According to DrowsyDriving.org, there are close to 2,000 people killed every year in these kinds of accidents. Another 70,000 are injured. And these are only the accidents that are reported. Officials believe that many times, drivers are not willing to admit to an officer that they were drowsy at the time of a collision, leading to the likelihood of tired drivers being responsible for many more crashes each year..
To try to shine light on this danger, officials with the National Sleep Foundation have declared November 12th through the 18th as National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. This week is 7 days of public awareness and education revolved around sleep safety.
Our Massachusetts accident attorneys understand that this condition affects nearly all drivers. Transportation workers are at some of the highest risks. According to a recent study, about 20 percent of pilots say that they've made a serious error and another 20 percent of truck drivers and 20 percent of train operators say they've had a "near miss" because of sleepiness.
The truth of the matter is that sleepiness and driving don't mix together at all. Unfortunately, most drivers are completely oblivious to drowsy driving. They're aware of the dangers of drinking and driving though, which in the end are no different. In the grand scheme of things, drowsy driving might actually be more dangerous than drunk driving. Like alcohol, sleep deprivation can slow you reaction time behind the wheel. It can also decrease your awareness, impair your judgment and increase your risks for getting into an accident.
Who is most at risk for these kinds of accidents?
-Adult drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 are more likely than any other age group of drivers to drive while drowsy.
-Men are more likely than women to drive drowsy.
-Drivers who have children in their household are more likely than those who have none.
-Drivers who are shift workers are more likely than those with regularly-scheduled jobs to drive while drowsy.
-Those who suffer from sleep deprivation and other sleep-related conditions are more likely to get into drowsy driving car accidents.
-Drivers who get six to seven hours of sleep each night are twice as likely to be involved a drowsy driving car accident as someone who gets an average of 8 hours or more a night. Those who continuously sleep less than 5 hours, increase their risks four to five times.
Your best bet in avoiding these kinds of accidents is to avoid driving during times when you would normally be sleeping. You want to make sure that you get plenty of sleep each night and that you're able to recognize sleepiness behind the wheel. One of the worst things that you could ever do is try to push through your tiredness. When you feel sleepy, it's important that you switch roles with a passenger or you pull over in a safe area, stop and get some rest. Caffeine, loud music and open windows are only a temporary fix to wake you up and will ultimately not prevent you from falling asleep at the wheel if you push your luck.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333 today!
More Blog Entries:
Massachusetts Deer Accidents Can be a Serious Matter, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 27, 2012
Big Changes to Massachusetts' Toll Plazas, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 23, 2012