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The dangers of drowsy driving

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2021 | Dui Defense |

There are a lot of demands on your time in modern day life. Between work, family, social obligations, social media and a never-ending array of TV shows and movies to stream, it may feel like there is never enough time to fit everything in. Some people in Georgia even forego sleep to try and fit in as much as possible. Unfortunately, insufficient sleep is a significant contributor to drowsy driving.

While you have probably heard of distracted driving, you might not be familiar with the issue of drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is when a driver is sleepy, fatigued or otherwise drowsy while behind the wheel. If being sleepy does not seem as dangerous as drunk or texting behind the wheel, you might be surprised to learn that it contributes to thousands of injuries and deaths each and every year.

Is drowsy driving like drunk driving?

One of the main reasons that drowsy driving is so dangerous is because it mimics drunk driving behaviors. Drowsy drivers often overestimate their abilities and miss warning signs that indicate it is no longer safe to be driving, just like many drunk drivers. Some of the shared problems between these two issues include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Poor decision making

Any driver of any age or background can engage in drowsy driving. However, drivers who travel long distances are more likely to be drowsy than those traveling shorter distances or sticking closer to home. Drowsy driving is also a greater concern during nighttime hours.

Is drowsy driving common?

It is harder to spot a drowsy driver than a distracted driver. A distracted driver might have a phone in front of his or her face or be talking animatedly to a passenger and not looking at the road. A drowsy driver might seem focused but actually be struggling to focus on the task at hand.

This is why it may come as a surprise to learn that, in a study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — NHTSA, approximately 40% of drivers responded that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once. Since this figure was self-reported, it is possible that the actual figure is much higher. In a separate study from The Zebra, only around 23% of drivers thought being sleepy meant that driving was dangerous.

The danger is real

Drowsy driving killed approximately 4,000 people between 2013 and 2017. In 2017 alone, tired or sleepy drivers contributed to at least 90,000 car accidents. The NHTSA also believes that drowsy driving accounts for around 13% of the $836 billion that crashes cause in societal costs.

If drowsy driving was a factor in your accident, you may need help. Since these accidents are often serious, you are probably dealing with serious issues like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, medical bills, lost income and more. Successfully navigating a personal injury claim to completion is one option for addressing these damages.

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