Driver fatigue tied to 1 in 6 Boston car accidents

Boston car accident attorneys know there are few things more important to our well-being and, unfortunately, more under-rated, than a good night’s sleep. Aside from the health benefits of regular rest, fatigue has also been found to play a significant role in workplace accidents, machinery-related accidents and motor vehicle crashes.

Driver fatigue is believed to be responsible for more than 100,000 car accidents, resulting in 71,000 injuries and at least 1,500 fatalities annually, the National Sleep Foundation reports. Nearly 11 million drivers have admitted to crashing or narrowly escaping a car accident due to falling asleep behind the wheel. Half of Americans surveyed admit to regularly driving while tired and another 20 percent say they have fallen asleep behind the wheel during the last year.

“When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous. Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “We need to change the culture so that not only will drivers recognize the dangers of driving while drowsy but will stop doing it.”

Authorities are urging motorists to take the risks serious this week during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

To help drivers recognize signs they might be at risk of “driving while drowsy” the NSF offers the following tips and prevention suggestions:

~ If you find it difficult to focus, lose track of time and catch yourself daydreaming or struggling with incoherent thoughts.

~ If the last few miles you’ve driven seem more a blur than a reality, or if you’ve missed an exit or failed to respond properly to traffic signal.

~ If you experience persistent yawning, heavy eyelids, nodding off or feel confused or irritable.

~ Before hitting the road make sure you are well rested and have gotten at least six (preferably eight) hours of sleep. On longer trips, plan regular rest breaks every couple hours.

~ If you feel yourself growing drowsy stop for a jolt of caffeine and a 20 minute rest before getting back behind the wheel. Caffeine and a brief rest offer good short-term fixes, but a better plan is to travel when you would normally be awake.

The Boston car accident lawyers at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers, LLC, have more than 18 years experience handling serious and fatal traffic accident cases and representing those injured or killed in a Massachusetts car accident. If you have been injured or someone you love has been injured or killed in a Boston-area accident, talking with an experienced attorney can help you better understand your rights. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our offices at (617) 777-7777.

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