Drowsy or fatigued driving is a factor in more crashes than you might think. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 100,000 drowsy-driving crashes are reported to police each year, resulting in nearly 800 deaths and about 50,000 injuries.
The issue of drowsy driving may be especially important to keep in mind if you or loved ones plan to travel this holiday season. Following are some important things to remember:
Try to get a solid 8 hours of sleep before driving
For many years now, studies have shown that human bodies and minds function best when they have eight hours of sleep. A lot of people, particularly young people, tend to undervalue a good night’s rest. But the reality is that lack of sleep is a factor in thousands of devastating car accidents every year. To prevent your brain functions from suddenly diving into a fog of fatigue behind the wheel, it is best to get eight hours of good sleep.
In fact, the trucking industry in particular is heavily regulated to prevent drowsy driving because truck driver fatigue can lead to catastrophic collisions. To learn more about that, please see our New Mexico Truck Accident Overview.
Don’t assume that caffeine or fresh air will wake you up
Coffee, energy drinks and other caffeinated beverages may offer a short-term boost of energy, but the boost does not last long. Once the stimulant wears off, you will likely feel more tired than you did before. The same goes for rolling down the windows for fresh air: you can breathe in all the cool air you like, but the fatigue will quickly return. Really, the best way to prevent drowsy driving is to get plenty of rest.
Drowsy driving can be just as deadly as drunk driving
Fatigued driving, distracted driving and drunk driving all have this in common: they prevent people’s minds and bodies from functioning safely behind the wheel. Drowsy driving can be just as deadly as drunk driving or distracted driving. All of these types of dangerous driving can be forms of driver negligence. If you or someone you love suffers injuries due to another driver’s negligent behavior, it is important to know your options for getting all the financial compensation you need for medical bills and other costs. For more on that, please see our New Mexico Motor Vehicle Accident Overview.