Many view the largest danger of drowsiness as yawns or heavy eyes. For motorists, however, drowsiness poses a substantial danger.
Due to its potential for causing serious or fatal crashes, drivers should understand the impact of drowsiness on operating a motor vehicle.
Why is drowsy driving dangerous?
According to the National Safety Council, driving while fatigued makes people three times more likely to get into accidents. Drowsiness may have similar effects on motorists as alcohol consumption. For example, people often experience a reduced awareness of hazards, decreased ability to focus and delayed reaction times when overly tired or fatigued.
What puts drivers at risk for drowsy driving?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several factors contribute to motorists operating vehicles while drowsy or fatigued. These include the following:
- Working long shifts or the night shift
- Operating commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers or buses
- Using medications that cause drowsiness
- Suffering from an untreated sleep disorder
Any driver, however, that does not get adequate sleep has the risk of driving while drowsy.
How can motorists avoid drowsy driving?
Although they cannot avoid all factors that may lead to drowsy driving, people may take some steps to ensure they have the ability to safely operate their vehicles. Developing good sleep habits, such as following a sleep schedule and getting enough sleep, may help prevent driving while overly tired or fatigued. Motorists should also ensure they seek treatment if they have symptoms of a sleep disorder, and refrain from taking medications that cause drowsiness if they plan to drive.
When drowsy drivers cause accidents, it may cause serious injuries or death for them, their passengers or the occupants of other vehicles on the road. Those injured in such collisions may consider their options for pursuing financial compensation for their associated losses.