We’ve all caught ourselves yawning behind the wheel on occasion. Most of the time, though, the slight tiredness isn’t enough to cause an accident. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Read on to learn why drowsy driving is so dangerous, as well as how a Houston car accident lawyer can help accident victims get the compensation they deserve.
The Risks and Repercussions of Falling Asleep at the Wheel
There are certain factors that show up again and again in drowsy driving accidents. They commonly occur after midnight, which may mean drivers are staying up too late or getting up too early and ignoring the risks of driving drowsy. They also tend to happen on rural roads or highways and involve only one driver, suggesting perhaps that these environments are especially conducive to “zoning out,” resulting in drivers drifting off into guard rails, trees, and other such hazards.
Depending on the situation, the repercussions of a drowsy driving accident can be as minor as a dented fender or as serious as a fatality. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 72,000 crashes in the year 2015 involved drowsy driving, injuring more than 41,000 people and killing over 800. Other sources estimate that drowsy driving is even more prevalent, playing a role in more than 16% of all fatal crashes.
How to Prevent Drowsy Driving Crashes
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can prevent the deadly consequences of these crashes. Stay safe with the following tips.
If You Can, Avoid Driving Late or for Long Periods
If at all possible, don’t get on the road at all when you’re sleepy. Consider taking public transportation or catching a ride with someone more awake. For long road trips, rotate driving responsibilities with others and/or plan regular driving breaks.
If You Must Be on the Road, Be Proactive
If you absolutely have to drive, there are still some precautions you can take ahead of time. First and foremost, make sure you’re getting the amount and quality of sleep you need. Before you leave, do something stimulating or refreshing to wake yourself up (e.g., exercise, word puzzles, getting some fresh air). Caffeine can work in a pinch, but it’s not necessarily a long-term solution.
Keep your vehicle temperature cool, avoid any relaxing music, and make a conscious effort to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. If you’re still zoning out, consider investing in a vehicle with safety features that can keep you in your lane and automatically brake for hazards.
Hurt by a Driver Asleep Behind the Wheel? We Can Help!
If you’ve been involved in a drowsy driving accident, you can trust the experienced personal injury lawyers at Johnson Garcia LLP to help you seek the damages you need to cover your losses. We also work on contingency, which means if you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. Call us at (832) 844-6700 to schedule your free initial consultation today.