When people think about distracted driving accidents or impaired driving crashes, the first causes that usually come to mind are alcohol or texting related. The truth of the matter, however, is that people who haven’t had enough sleep are just as big of a danger behind the wheel than those who are intoxicated or are willfully directing their attention away from the road. One of the biggest reasons that drivers operate vehicles when they are too tired is because most of the time, they don’t even realize it’s an issue until they are on the road. Here are seven more facts about driving while drowsy:
1. One-Third of People Have Fallen Asleep at the Wheel at Some Point
In actuality, the real number of those who have drifted off while driving is closer to 37%, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That number is startlingly high and should serve as a warning to all drivers that the line between being drowsy and falling asleep is razor-thin.
2. 18 Hours without Sleep is the Equivalent of a B.A.L. of .05
Various states and regions may have different laws and ordinances concerning which exact blood alcohol level is legally intoxicated, but even in the places with the most lenient guidelines, .05 is still more than halfway, and in several places is at or over the legal limit. Additionally, studies have shown that one beer can have the same effect on a person who is sleep deprived that six beers can have on someone who is well-rested, just to give you an idea of how being tired affects our coordination and senses.
3. People with Sleeping Disorders are More Likely to Drive Drowsy
While this one may not be surprising, it is worth noting for the fact that driving while tired isn’t a one-time thing for people who struggle with issues such as insomnia or sleep anxiety. Since it is a problem which is most likely long term, something as simple as investing in a quality mattress that is designed specifically for your own maximum comfort can have an enormous impact on the amount of sleep you get on a nightly basis.
4. Coffee, Energy Drinks, and Little Tricks Don’t Work
With the popularity of and access to information online, there are millions of blogs and articles offering advice and tips on how to do just about anything. Life hacks from quicker exercises to fast and easy meal preparation dominate our feeds and inboxes. But make no mistake about it; all of the suggestions on how to stay awake will not work for long periods when what your body needs is rest. Rolling down the window, turning up the radio, chugging Red Bulls and “sitting up straighter” in your seat all sound fine, but the fact is that the only cure for sleepiness is sleep.
5. Monetary Damage from Drowsy Driving Totals $12.5 Billion Yearly
Yes, that’s right. Operating a vehicle when tired accounts for twelve and a half billion dollars a year and that doesn’t even count property damage or personal injury to other drivers or pedestrians which may victims of an accident. This is another one of those mind blowing numbers that is hard to even comprehend.
6. Drowsy Driving Causes More Accidents Than Drunk Driving
Some people may find this shocking, but it shouldn’t be. The reasons for this statistic are numerous. One of them may be that many people know better than to drive a vehicle when they have been drinking, whereas people who are too tired to be driving may not even realize it until they have been in their vehicle for several minutes. Another reason is that not everyone drinks, and even less drive when they do, but everybody gets sleepy at some point every day.
7. Sleep-Deprived Accidents are 3.5 Times Higher than Reported
When you consider all of the statistics we have about how many accidents are caused by driving when drowsy, and how much the total financial costs are associated with them are, it is astounding to think that the real numbers are actually over three times as much as reported.
The reason for this is because unlike drinking and driving, which can be detected through field tests and breath and blood analysis, and texting, which can be identified by looking at the phone or phone records, it is much more difficult to prove that someone fell asleep behind the wheel unless they admit to it (which more often than not, people don’t).
When in Doubt—Don’t
The main point to take away from this is that being too tired to drive is something that most people don’t even realize when it’s happening to them. The end result for themselves and others who share the road with them could be catastrophic. So instead of trying to push out those last few miles or slam those energy drinks to make it to your destination, simply pull off to an area where you can rest for a short time or even let someone else drive.
Of course, the best solution is prevention. Getting enough sleep at night is the only way to guarantee that you will be alert and aware when driving. Adults need six to eight hours of sleep a night, while teenagers require a minimum of eight. Making sure that you are fully rested and refreshed can literally mean the difference between life and death when operating any motor vehicle.
If you think you've been hit and injured by a drowsy driver we have the negligent auto accident injury experience you need to recover financially for your injuries. Call our attorneys now at 303-782-9999 or start your free case evaluation now!