In 2018, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study regarding drowsy driving and the potential dangers that may ensue. As part of the study, the results showed that the total number of drowsy driving crashes is about eight times higher than the estimates throughout the nation.
The study used various measures that linked driver’s eye movements and related it to their potential drowsiness as opposed to other times their eyes may have been closed. This used dashcam videos and study of the three minutes prior to a crash. As a determination, the study would have us believe that roughly 9.5% of all crashes involve driver drowsiness while federal estimates had the numbers around 1-2%.
AAA estimates that 300,000+ accidents occur each year due to drowsy driving.
It’s a concerning statistic showing that there are more people on the road who are not only driving while they are tired (an act considered negligence under personal injury law), but they’re causing significant harm because of it. Below, we’ll analyze additional statistics regarding drowsy driving and explain just how dangerous this can be.
If you’re injured by a drowsy driver, our firm is here to help. Call us at (718) 690-3132 today.
Recognizing Neglect in Drowsy Driving
In 2019, there was an additional study performed by the American Academy of Sleep Machine to determine just how many people operate their vehicles while drowsy. In that study, it was determined that almost half of the American adults surveyed admitted to driving while they are too tired. Unfortunately, while this is a negligent act, it’s not an illegal act except for in two states, making it possible for people to still do it without breaking the law.
Drowsy driving can be as dangerous than driving distracted or while intoxicated. It can alter someone’s decision-making abilities drastically. If someone falls asleep at the wheel, this can last seconds until the driver either causes a collision or is fortunate enough to wake up and maintain control of the vehicle.
We know how dangerous distracted driving is as it takes typically five seconds to check a phone while driving. Falling asleep can last even longer than that. At a higher rate of speed, this can lead to some of the most disastrous collisions.
Symptoms of Drowsy Driving
If you’re on the road, your safety is imperative. Part of defensive driving techniques is recognizing any situation that can cause you harm before it happens. This can include making sure you’re taking the precautions to recognize the signs of a drowsy driver. Similarly, if you feel like you’re tired, you should be aware of the symptoms, so you know when to not drive.
Signs of a drowsy driver include:
- Constantly slowing down and speeding up erratically
- Suddenly braking when no vehicles are in front
- Swerving into other lanes and shifting back quickly
- Passing traffic signs or signals without abiding by the law
- Following too closely to other vehicles
If you see a driver on the road doing any of the above, it’s important to stay back. Many of the signs associated with drowsy driving may also indicate intoxicated driving or distracted driving, so you may want to report the driver to local authorities for the potential danger.
Symptoms showing you may be too tired to drive include:
- You are yawning much more frequently
- You experience “highway hypnosis” where you can’t remember driving much of the last few miles
- You are drifting into another lane
- You catch yourself as your head begins to nod
If you’re too tired to drive, either have someone drive you or pull off to the side of the road to assess your condition to continue. Driving while drowsy is an action that can lead to significant injuries in an accident, and if you are the one who is drowsy, you may be liable for all damages associated with a crash.
Preventing a Drowsy Driving Accident
While you may not be able to predict negligence and there are many situations you can’t avoid, it’s important to recognize the different ways you may be able to keep yourself safe. Defensive driving tips can help you protect yourself from harm. Here are some quick tips to utilize to help keep yourself safe on the road:
- Avoid driving too late. The late night/early morning hours are some of the most dangerous times to drive because many of those on the road are either just waking up for an early shift, getting out of a late shift, or driving after a long day. Stay off the road if it’s later at night.
- Give plenty of space. If you suspect that another driver is drowsy, or driving erratically, make sure you stay back. It may seem like a good idea to try and get past the driver, but this puts you in harm’s way. Stay back so you can anticipate the driver’s actions.
If you’re injured in a crash involving a drowsy driver, know that you may have the right to pursue compensation from the negligent party. It’s vital during this time to speak with a New York car accident attorney who recognizes state laws and your ability to take legal action.
At Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices, we work diligently to safeguard your best interests throughout the process. Trust that we have the legal knowledge, tenacity, and skill to position your case favorable. We’ll be your voice against negligence and work to be the advocates necessary to get the results you need.
Call our firm today at (718) 690-3132 and speak with a member of our legal team about your options. We offer free consultations to answer your questions and address your concerns from the start.