Between work, family, social obligations and the endless options of TV shows to stream, getting enough sleep can be challenging. While being a bit tired can make everyday tasks somewhat more difficult, it poses a more significant risk when it comes to driving. Drowsy driving is dangerous and contributes to serious and even fatal injuries.
If a tired driver does not seem like much of a threat, you might be surprised to learn that drowsy driving causes at least 100,000 accidents every year. This figure only includes police reported crashes in which authorities actually determined drowsiness was a factor. Considering that some people might be hesitant to admit to being tired behind the wheel, the actual figure could be much higher.
Tired drivers are everywhere
According to research from the American Automobile Association — AAA — approximately 40% of drivers admit they have fallen asleep while driving. Drivers do not have to lose a considerable amount of sleep to be dangerous either. More research from AAA determined that drivers who have slept for fewer than seven hours over a 24-hour period are much more likely to cause accidents.
Drowsy drivers are especially common at nighttime. However, you can encounter drowsy drivers at any time of day. The National Sleep Foundation found that 20% of drivers who have admitted to falling asleep while driving did so between the hours of noon and 5 p.m.
What is making everyone so tired?
Although you should be actively engaged with the task at hand when you are behind the wheel, many people treat it as a monotonous task. Monotonous tasks tell the brain to switch from active to relaxed mode, which often makes people realize just how tired they really are. Some of the reasons people are tired include:
- Lack of sleep
- Certain medications
- Sleep disorders
Determining whether one is getting enough sleep should not be too much of a challenge. The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. If driving after getting only 7 hours of sleep makes you feel tired, then you should consider getting to bed a little earlier.
Is it as dangerous as drunk driving?
Drowsy drivers can be just as dangerous as drunk drivers. This is because being drowsy can mimic many of the symptoms that make drunk driving so dangerous. Both drowsy and drunk drivers struggled with:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed reaction times
- Poor decision making
If drowsy driving on the part of another driver was a factor in your accident, you could be facing a long road to recovery. You might also be dealing with pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost wages and hefty medical bills. Addressing these issues on your own can feel impossible, but many car accident victims in Indiana have secured the help they need through successfully navigating personal injury claims.