A man that was driving down Foley Avenue in Coon Rapids, MN abruptly fell asleep at the wheel and missed a turn. His vehicle remained heading straight toward a home; however, his car hit a parked truck which woke him and prevented the potential catastrophe. Police reported that the man was transported to a local hospital for treatment. AAA reports that those who sleep five hours per night or less have a four times greater likelihood of being involved in a collision—a rate similar to a drunk driver. Further, The U.S. Highway Safety Administration suggests that driving while drowsy is a factor in about 100,000 such accidents each year.
AAA Report Findings
Their report indicated that those drivers who obtain five to six hours of sleep each night double their chances of being involved in a crash compared to those with seven hours. Apparently, the risk continues to increase based on the level of sleep deprivation. The problem is believed to now account for one in five fatal accidents.
Warning Signs to Recognize
Recognizing the signals that are likely an indication of drowsiness can be critical and include:
- Blinking noticeably more frequently
- The duration of blinks are longer
- The slowing of eye movement
- A delay in reaction time
- Dozing off while idling at traffic signals or in traffic jams
- Increased swerving
- Notably bad decision making
Prevention is truly the key, as once you are asleep you are a danger on the road.
Tips & Prevention
There are a variety of means for prevention and to temporarily increase alertness. Finding something to listen to on the radio, opening the car window, or starting a conversation with a passenger may help many people remain alert. Drinking caffeine, such as coffee or an energy drink, may give you a little more energy. The reality is that these options are only temporary and are not intended to sustain your alertness very long. It is best to stop the vehicle and take a nap, as sleep is truly the only way to be rejuvenated.
Rumble Strips on Roadways
The U.S Department of Transportation has studied the impact of using rumble strips to prevent accidents associated with traveling outside of the lanes of traffic. These are typically installed on the shoulder of the road, along the center or median, or upon the road itself when a sudden change of speed is necessary. A drowsy driver may respond best to their first rumble strip hit during a trip; however, subsequent hits show decreased driver response rates.
Drivers who choose to operate a vehicle while they are excessively tired are exhibiting negligent and dangerous behavior. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal advocates for injury victims in Colorado harmed by careless drivers. You may have a right to economic recovery for the hardship and distress you have endured. Contact our Denver office today at (303) 825-2223 for a consultation.