Sometimes we simply do not get a good night’s sleep. Nevertheless, we have to get up the next morning, drive to work or drop our kids off at school and go about our day, as tired as we are. However, doing so is very risky as driver fatigue can easily lead to a drowsy driving accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2019, more than 100,000 car crashes were due to drowsy driving. Approximately 50% of all adult drivers in the U.S. have admitted to driving while they were tired. And, of all motorists age 18 and up, approximately one in 25 reported they have fallen asleep while driving.
Drowsy driving: as dangerous as drunk driving?
There have been many initiatives made to combat drunk driving. However, equally dangerous is drowsy driving. If you are awake for over 18 hours, you will suffer the same effects as if your blood-alcohol concentration was 0.05%. And, if you have been awake for a full 24 hours, you will suffer the same effects as if your blood-alcohol concentration was 0.10% — well above the legal limit.
Tips for preventing drowsy driving
Drowsy driving can be prevented. One way to combat drowsy driving is to get an adequate amount of sleep and stick to a sleep schedule. Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep a night, and teenagers should get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Shift workers should follow the same sleep schedule every day, even the days they have off of work.
If you do find yourself growing tired while driving, pull over to a safe place and take a quick 10-minute power nap. This can immediately improve your alertness for the rest of the drive.
Many prescription medications contain warnings that you should not drive or operate heavy machinery while using them, as the medications can cause drowsiness. However, even over-the-counter medicines such as antihistamines and cold medicines list drowsiness as a side effect. It is important to check the labels on any medications you take, to see if they will make you too drowsy to drive.
Learn more about drowsy driving accidents
As this shows, drowsy driving should be avoided, just as you would avoid drunk driving. It is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents in New York and across the nation. Our firm’s website on motor vehicle accidents may be a useful resource for those who want to learn more about this topic.