Getting enough sleep is an important part of being a safe and functioning member of society. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who do not prioritize sleep and then get behind the wheel while too tired to fully focus on the task. There is even a term for this — drowsy driving.
Like most people, you probably already know just how dangerous distracted and drunk drivers are. However, this might be the first or only one of the few times you have even heard of drowsy driving. Considering how dangerous — and even deadly — drowsy driving can be, it is important for you to learn more.
Drowsy drivers are everywhere
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety administration, drowsy driving is a factor in approximately 100,000 police-reported car accidents every year. It is also a factor in 1,500 annual deaths. However, these figures only represent when police were able to determine that a driver was drowsy, so it is possible that tired drivers are even more dangerous.
A survey from the American Automobile Association found that some drivers are a lot more than just a little tired. In that survey, 40% of respondents admitted that they had fallen asleep while behind the wheel. The idea of sharing the road with sleeping drivers can be understandably terrifying.
What causes drowsiness?
Lack of sleep is a big contributing factor to drowsy driving. The average adult needs anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep to maintain adequate brain function. Drivers who have gotten fewer than the recommended amount of sleep are more likely to be drowsy.
Sleep is not the only cause of drowsy driving, though. Certain medications can increase feelings of fatigue and drowsiness, too. Simply engaging in a behavior that our brains perceive as monotonous — including driving — can contribute to feelings of drowsiness.
Drowsy vs. drunk driving
Drowsy and drunk driving are both dangerous behaviors. It might be hard to say which is more dangerous than the other because both cause many of the same symptoms. These include:
- Poor decision-making
- Blurred vision
- Slowed reaction time
Drowsy driving accidents can be serious. If you are struggling to recover from injuries related to an accident with a drowsy driver, know that you are not alone. You might even find it helpful to follow the same path as other victims in Minnesota, which is to pursue compensation through the careful actions of a personal injury lawsuit.