Drowsy Driving Accidents are on the Rise
Drowsy driving happens to the best of us, on long drives or even daily commutes. In today’s fast-paced world, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” seems to be America’s mantra. The body will seek the sleep it needs one way or another. Unfortunately, this all-too-often occurs while behind the wheel, resulting in fatal accidents. Learn the facts about drowsy driving accidents and what you can do to prevent one.
Explore the Drowsy Driving Dilemma
A new study shows that young drivers are especially at risk when it comes to sleep deprivation. One in four drivers are sleep-deprived behind the wheel – amounting to 84 million drowsy drivers on the roadways daily. These negligent drivers killed more than 5,000 people in car accidents in 2015. Statistics show more than half of all drowsy driving accidents involve teenage drivers.
Experts believe mobile devices are to blame for this issue, citing teenage sleep-deprivation as a side effect of “mobile obsession.” Teenagers, as well as other Americans, are getting less than the recommended eight hours of sleep per night – in large part due to staying up late on mobile devices. Studies show that staring at a digital screen right before bed makes it more difficult for the body to slip into a deep enough sleep to truly feel revitalized the next day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 16- to 19-year-olds are most at risk of motor vehicle crashes. The CDC lists risk factors for this age group, which include:
- Failure to recognize and properly respond to dangerous situations
- Speeding and following too closely
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
Drowsy driving and completely falling asleep while driving are major issues among young adults. Biology, extracurricular activities, and academic pressures all keep teenagers from getting enough sleep. Furthering this issue is lack of awareness around drowsy driving. While most young drivers are aware of the risks of texting and driving or driving drunk, not many recognize the dangers of driving while tired.
A Potential Solution?
Vehicle manufacturing companies, such as Volvo, are taking the issue of sleep deprivation into their own hands, implementing technologies designed to catch drowsy drivers before they cause an accident. Automatic braking, for example, can help the number of rear-end collisions that result from a sleepy driver. These vehicles warn drowsy drivers when it’s time to take a break, triggering a sound notification and relaying a digital message in the dashboard.
Aside from newer technologies to help combat drowsy driving accidents, experts state the need to increase awareness of this issue and teach young adults not to drive tired. Teenagers should avoid driving, especially long drives, if they haven’t had a full night’s rest. It can be difficult to tell when you’re falling asleep behind the wheel, but a few warning signs include excessive yawning, trouble focusing, and slower reaction time.
If you experience any signs of drowsy driving, pull over immediately and take a break. Park at a safe location, such as a rest stop with security, and sleep for at least 15-20 minutes before returning to the road. Turn up the radio, put the windows down, or consume caffeine to help prevent falling asleep behind the wheel. The only thing that will prevent drowsy driving, however, is getting ample sleep before taking to the open road.
The combination of inexperience and lack of sleep puts young drivers the most at risk of drowsy driving accidents. Help prevent this common tragedy by teaching your child safe driving practices, warning of the dangers of tired driving, and promoting a full night’s rest. Preventing negligence-related car accidents begins with you.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact Liljegren Law Group’s San Diego car accident lawyer for help today. We offer free consultations.