Most people are aware of the dangers of distracted driving and drunk driving – but less attention is given to the equally risky practice of driving while fatigued, or drowsy driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 83,000 crashes are caused by drowsy or fatigued driving in the U.S. every year.
Here are some alarming facts about fatigued driving:
- Drowsy driving is very common: According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, 37 percent of survey respondents reported falling asleep behind the wheel in the past year. A whopping 60 percent of respondents reported driving while feeling sleepy.
- Drowsy driving kills: At least 846 individuals were killed in crashes caused by drowsy driving in 2014. However, that number may be much higher. Since the exact cause of some collisions is unknown, it is impossible to know exactly how many wrecks are caused by drivers who are drowsy or falling asleep.
- Men vs. women: Men are more likely to drive drowsy than women (56 percent vs. 45 percent) – and they are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel (22 percent vs. 12 percent).
- Occupational hazard: Shift workers – those working outside of a typical 9 to 5 schedule – are more likely to drive fatigued than those with a traditional work schedule (36 percent vs. 25 percent).
Avoid the dangers of drowsy driving: Although certain medications can contribute to drowsiness, most often drowsy driving is the result of not getting enough sleep. Most people need seven or eight hours of sleep each night.
It is best to avoid driving when tired, but research has shown that a “coffee nap” may help in desperate situations. Drinking a cup of coffee right before taking a quick, 20-minute nap can help enhance the effectiveness of caffeine in the body. The caffeine boost bolsters the natural restoration provided by a nap.
When a drowsy driving wreck results in injuries or fatalities, victims may be eligible for compensation. Call 800-594-4884 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.