This week, the NHTSA is addressing a real safety concern for drivers and passengers – drowsy driving. The NHTSA, with input from experts in sleep sciences, traffic safety and other groups, will be launching a new drowsy-driving initiative, which could include possible policy changes to address the dangers.
One look at drowsy driving statistics, and it’s clear to see this is a real concern for drivers of any vehicles, especially trucks and tractor-trailers due to their massive size and weight. Drowsiness makes drivers much less attentive, slowing their reaction time and affecting their ability to make decisions. Drowsy driving can lead to vehicle collisions and truck accidents, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.
- Frequent yawning
- Frequent blinking or having a hard time keeping your eyes open
- Inability to focus
- Drifting from your lane
- Hitting a rumble strip
- Missing your exit
- Missing traffic signs
- Wandering thoughts
- Turning up the radio or rolling down the window to try to stay awake
If you experience any of these warning signs, pull over in a safe spot to rest. The NHTSA drowsy driving report says that in 2013, drowsy driving caused approximately 72,000 crashes, 800 fatalities and 44,000 injuries. This may only be a small portion of the problem, as it is widely believed that drowsy driving is very underreported as a cause of crashes. A drowsy driving study released last year by the AAA Foundation that analyzed data from accidents over a 4-year period found that as many as 21% of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver, much higher than the NHTSA estimates.
Tips to Reduce Drowsy Driving
- Get a good night’s sleep before a long drive
- Pull off the road into a safe spot if you notice any warning signs of fatigue. If you have further to go, take a nap or rest before driving again.
- Avoid medications that may make you drowsy before getting behind the wheel
- Do not drink and drive
- Avoid driving when you would normally be asleep
- Consume caffeine. This can give you a short-term boost, but will not overcome your drowsiness for long, and should not be used to replace sleep.
- Share the driving responsibility with a friend. A passenger who remains awake can take turns driving and also watch for signs of drowsy driving
The accident attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli encourage you to get plenty of rest before setting out on your next trip and watch for the warning signs of drowsy driving. If you have been injured in a car or truck accident, call the injury lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli for a free consultation today. Contact a Philadelphia lawyer at 215-575-9237 or a Wilkes-Barre lawyer at 570-714-HURT.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.