Getting enough sleep is an important factor in living a happy, healthy life. It is also an important factor in staying safe on the road. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Texas drivers who get behind the wheel even though they are far too tired to do so. This lax approach to drowsy driving is seriously injuring and even killing innocent people.
The average person needs anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep just to function properly. Lack of sleep is only one contributing factor to drowsy driving though. Certain medications can also make people feel very tired, while sleep disorders might also interfere with some people’s ability to drive.
Drowsy driving is not uncommon
Maybe you have heard more about the dangers of distracted or drunk driving, so drowsy driving might not seem like that big of a threat. The reality is that drowsy driving is shockingly common. According to the American Automobile Association at least 40% of drivers admit to having fallen asleep while driving.
Every year, drivers and passengers report at least 100,000 drowsy driving accidents to police. This figure does not account for the accidents in which a driver might have been sleepy or even dozed off but failed to mention that to anyone else. This means that the 1,500 annual deaths related to drowsy driving might be low too.
Is it like drunk driving?
Most people would agree that drunk driving is dangerous. However, few people might realize that being tired can be just as dangerous as being intoxicated. For example, drivers who have not slept for 20 hours show the same type of impairment associated with a blood alcohol concentration of .08%.
Being tired might even mimic drunk driving to a certain extent. This is because being tired tends to slow thought processes and reaction times, just like alcohol does. So whether a driver is drunk or just very tired, he or she is more likely to cause an accident.
Fighting off sleep
There are several steps you can take if you are worried about feeling tired while driving. For starters, getting enough sleep is crucial. You can also improve your chances of staying fully awake and alert behind the wheel by:
- Driving during times you are generally awake
- Drinking caffeine
- Eating a snack
- Taking a power nap before driving
While you might do your best to be a safe driver, other drivers in Texas do not take this task as seriously as they should. If drowsy driving on the part of another person was a factor in your recent accident, you may need help with the serious damages you are now living with. Successfully navigating a personal injury lawsuit is just one way to address your pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages.