Drowsiness behind the wheel and its dangers

Drowsy driving crashes are unfortunately widespread in Pennsylvania. Perhaps you were involved in one that was caused by another motorist and suffered catastrophic injuries. While there are an average of 100,000 drowsy driving crashes each year that are reported by the police, the actual number is much higher. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety puts it at 328,000 crashes and estimates that 109,000 end in injury and 6,400 in death.

The effect of drowsiness on driving

Fatigue makes a driver three times more likely to crash. Its effect on driving is disastrous: It impairs judgment, leads to inattention and slows reaction times. In fact, drowsy driving closely resembles drunk driving. To drive after being awake for 20 continuous hours is like driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08. Drowsy driving also leads to bursts of inattention called microsleep. This means that the driver become virtually blind to the road for four or five seconds without knowing it.

Ways to prevent drowsy driving

Various interventions are possible to reduce and prevent drowsy driving. For example, more than 50% of victims are drivers under 25. Students are especially known for not obtaining the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep, so schools should have educational programs to encourage healthier behavior. Parents of teen drivers can establish a rule regarding drowsiness.

Also, many people unwittingly take medications with drowsiness-inducing side effects. If labels were clearer about these effects, it could help prevent crashes. Ultimately, though, it comes down to getting adequate sleep, recognizing the symptoms of drowsiness and pulling over when possible for a nap when those symptoms appear. Symptoms can include droopy eyelids, constant yawning, lane drifting and trouble remembering what the last few miles were like.

An attorney to help you seek damages

Car accidents that result in catastrophic injuries can form the basis for a third-party insurance claim. You may be wondering just what your options are for seeking damages, which is why scheduling a legal evaluation may be a good idea. A lawyer may assist with negotiations so that a fair settlement may be achieved.