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The Role That Driver Fatigue Plays In Car Accidents

A 2009 press release from the National Sleep Foundation showed that 1.9 million drivers experienced a car crash or a near-miss due to drowsiness in the previous year. Even more alarming, approximately 54% of people admitted to driving while drowsy as least once in the previous year and 28% claimed to drive drowsy at least once a month. While there are plenty of news reports and campaigns that stress the connection between distracted driving and auto accidents, drowsy driving is often overlooked as a contributing cause of vehicle collisions.

tired driver

Effects of drowsy driving
Similar in the way that consuming alcohol before driving slows reaction time and decreases awareness, being awake for more than 20 hours also impairs judgment. However, unlike alcohol-impaired drivers, people who fall asleep at the wheel are unable to take any action to avoid a car accident.

Signs of drowsy driving
In order for someone to avoid drowsy driving, he or she must recognize the signs of fatigue. Anyone having difficulty focusing or keeping his or her head up should stop driving and pull to the side of the road. Other warning signs of fatigue include daydreaming or drifting from one lane into another. Many highways and freeways have rumble strips along the edge to catch a driver’s attention when he or she is drifting. If someone keeps hitting these strips, then he or she needs to pull over to a safe place.

Countermeasures for drowsy driving
Most adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep at night to feel rested and alert. Instead of trying to rush the trip by sleeping through the night, it’s important to schedule necessary breaks and resting points. In fact, it’s advisable for drivers to take a break every 100 miles, which is about every two hours.

Founded in 1993, the Auto Accident Law Firm of Kevin Paul Childers focuses only on auto accident law. In addition, we were voted the best attorney in Prince William County. To schedule a meeting with one of our Woodbridge auto accident attorneys, call (703) 330-6300.

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