A new report released by the Governors Highway Safety Organization (GHSO) claims drowsy driving killed 5,000 Americans last year. The report also claims drowsy driving accidents costs the US $109 billion annually, not including property damage. This number is greater than the gross domestic product (GDP) of many countries.
According to the GHSO, drivers who have been awake for 21 hours are impaired in a way that is comparable to someone who is legally drunk. Drowsy drivers have memory problems, impaired judgement, inability to pay attention, slower reaction times and increased levels of risk-taking. Sound familiar? These are many of the same characteristics the Centers for Disease Control lists for drunk drivers.
The GHSO report suggests that we must understand why sleep is important to reduce the number of drowsy driving accidents. However, there are other solutions that may help people avoid falling asleep behind the wheel. For example, it is important to understand the symptoms of drowsiness and to have a listing of road stops before setting out on long trips.
How Can We Prevent Drowsy Driving Accidents?
First and foremost, it is important to know if you have a health condition like sleep apnea. The condition interrupts breathing during sleep, waking up people with the condition multiple times each night. People who suffer from sleep apnea suffer from excessive daytime drowsiness. Sleep apnea can significantly increase your risk of causing a drowsy driving accident.
It is also important to receive seven to eight hours of sleep the night before you set out on a road trip. Finally, it is vital to understand the symptoms of fatigued driving People experiencing drowsiness may have difficulty focusing, heavy eyelids, wandering thoughts, and problems keep their heads up.
If you are making a road trip, you can use Google Maps to locate rest stops along your route. Some of these stops will have areas where drivers can pull over and get some rest.
The Colorado personal injury attorneys at Metier Law Firm encourage safe driving practices.