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What Drivers Need to Know about Drowsy Driving


Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Nov 07, 2017 in Car Accidents

drowsy driverDrowsy driving causes approximately 100,000 accidents each year, leading to more than 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The trusted Waterbury car accident attorneys of D’Amico & Pettinicchi want all drivers to be informed about drowsy driving and how to prevent it. If you were injured in an accident caused by drowsy driving, our experienced attorneys will fight to hold the at-fault driver accountable as we pursue the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation.

What is Drowsiness?

Sleep is necessary to keep the body rested and healthy. Drowsiness occurs when the body does not get enough sleep, or good quality sleep. When a person is drowsy, alertness and performance decline and it takes longer to react and make decisions.

Driving drowsy is proven to be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A driver who is awake more than 20 hours straight is impaired at a level equal to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 – the legal limit across the country. Drowsy driving limits a driver’s reaction time, judgement and performance behind the wheel.

Signs of drowsiness in a driver include:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Inability to keep eyes open or head up
  • Yawning
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Restlessness, irritability or aggression
  • Drifting, following other vehicles too closely and missing exits
  • Delayed reaction times

How Common is Drowsy Driving?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, half of American adults admit to driving while drowsy; 20 percent say they have even fallen asleep while driving in the last year.

A 2017 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the less sleep an individual gets, the higher the crash rate. It suggests that drivers who slept five to six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as drivers who get seven or more hours of sleep.

When Do Drowsy Driving Accidents Happen?

Drowsy driving accidents typically share common factors.

  • Most drowsy driving crashes take place between midnight and 6 A.M., or during late afternoon hours. During these times, the body’s circadian rhythms naturally dip.
  • Drowsy driving accidents are most common on highways and rural roadways.
  • Most drowsy driving accidents involve a single vehicle with just a driver, traveling off the roadway at high rates of speed and not braking.

Who is Most at Risk?

Certain groups of drivers are more likely to drive drowsy compared to others:

  • Drivers aged 16 to 25
  • Drivers who work nights, rotating shifts, double shifts or multiple jobs
  • Commercial drivers
  • Drivers who travel for business
  • Drivers with untreated sleep disorders

How to Prevent Drowsy Driving

Take the following steps to prevent driving drowsy, keeping yourself, your passengers and other motorists safe:

  • Do not drive if you are tired.
  • Do not drive if you take a medication known to cause drowsiness
  • Do not drive during hours you would normally sleep
  • Do not drink alcohol before driving
  • Do not depend on “tricks” to help you stay awake while driving, such as cracking a window or turning up the radio
  • Always get a full night’s sleep prior to making a long drive, and make good sleep a priority every night to keep the body rested
  • If you begin to feel fatigued, get off the road and take a 15 to 20-minute nap in a safe spot.
  • Consume caffeine to increase alertness for short periods
  • Drive with a friend who will stay awake to watch for signs of fatigue and alternate driving responsibilities if needed

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers Today

The Watertown car accident lawyers of D’Amico & Pettinicchi are committed to helping injured victims recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will investigate your case, using evidence to hold drowsy drivers accountable for their negligent actions that caused your injuries.

Learn the legal options that may be available in your case by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation with our attorneys today. Our cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. Legal fees are only owed if we help you recover compensation in your car accident case.

Call (866) 848-7077 or complete our Free Case Review form now.