The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one out of every three American adults does not get enough sleep on a regular basis. According to recommendations of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, adults should sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and wellbeing. Sleeping less increases the risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and mental distress.
There’s no doubt -- we are a sleep-deprived nation. However, our Denver auto accident lawyer knows that sleep deprivation does not just cause physical and mental disorders -- it also makes the U.S. roadways dangerous.
About half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy, and 40% admit that they have fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in their driving careers. An estimated 5,000 people died in 2015 in crashes involving drowsy driving, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report, and over 100,000 crashes a year can be attributed to drowsy driving.
Based on these statistics (as well as the number of cases that come across our Denver auto accident lawyer’s desk, it’s clear that drowsy driving is a significant problem that results in car crashes, personal injuries, and wrongful death.
Signs You Are Too Sleepy to Drive
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, The National Safety Council says you are likely too fatigued to be driving:
- You find yourself yawning and you can’t stop.
- You are having a hard time keeping your eyes open.
- You find yourself nodding off at the wheel.
- Your head feels so heavy that you are having trouble keeping it up.
- You don’t remember the last few miles that you drove.
- You keep missing your turns or you are not noticing road signs.
- You find yourself slowing down then speeding up.
- You drift out of your lane or run onto the shoulder of the road.
What to Do If You Are Too Sleepy
The best way to avoid drowsy driving is to get enough sleep, seven hours a night if you are an adult and eight hours if you are a teenager. In addition, don’t take any medications that can cause drowsiness before getting behind the wheel. If you’re not sure if your medication causes drowsiness, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
If you experience any of the sleep-deprivation indications listed above, or you simply know that you are too sleepy to drive, find a spot to pull over to take a nap or change drivers immediately.
Contact a Denver Auto Accident Lawyer Today
Sleep-deprived drivers are as dangerous as distracted drivers and those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving is serious business and the operator of a motor vehicle owes his or her passengers and the other motorists and passengers on the road a duty to drive safely without putting them at undue risk of harm.
If you or a loved one are injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, a Denver auto accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and what steps to take to protect them. Contact our office today.