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Drowsy driving a big public health risk in the United States

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2018 | Car Accidents

Have you ever noticed that a car is drifting in and out of lanes and wondered what is going on? When you got closer to the vehicle, you might have noticed that the driver seemed to be nodding off at the wheel. This happens more often than what some people might realize. Fatigued driving is a very real risk on the roads that can cause serious motor vehicle wrecks.

There are many reasons why motorists might be drowsy when they drive. For the victims of crashes that are caused by these drivers, the cause of the accident could be important to their claims for compensation. Here are some points to remember about this risk of the road:

All drivers are impacted

All drivers can be affected by drowsiness when they are behind the wheel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that around one out of every 25 drivers reported falling asleep while they were driving. It further denotes that as many as 6,000 fatal accidents per year in the United States might be attributed to drowsy driving. This shows the scope of the problem. It doesn’t matter how long a person has been driving, how many miles they’ve logged or what type of vehicle they are in. Drowsy driving can impact them if they don’t pull over when they need to.

Sleep might not be the answer

Some people equate lack of sleep with drowsy driving. While it is true that this is a cause, it isn’t the only one. Some medications and medical conditions cause drowsiness. Another possibility is being dazed from the driving conditions, e.g., driving on familiar roads or in hot and stuffy vehicles.

It doesn’t matter what the cause is, as long as the driver addresses it. This can be something as simple as getting off the road for some fresh air and a bite to eat. When lack of sleep is the cause, taking a nap or getting a good night’s sleep is the only thing that will help.

Drivers must beware

The signs of drowsy driving aren’t always easy to spot. Drifting in and out of lanes or driving over rumble strips are signs that you need to find a place to pull over. Not remembering the last few minutes or miles, as well as yawning or blinking frequently can also be signals that a break is necessary.

For victims of drowsy driving wrecks, the knowledge that it could have been prevented might be infuriating. Taking legal action after the crash might be a way to hold the irresponsible driver accountable for his or her actions.