You have almost certainly driven when you were a little tired, probably towards the end of a long, long drive. However, the regularity of sleepy driving does not excuse the risks of driving when tired.
The statistics on drowsy driving are clear. Each year in the United States, an estimated 886 people die in drowsy driving accidents, which is a conservative number. When people drive tired, they are as dangerous or more dangerous than people driving while intoxicated.
Recognize the signs and take a rest
You may think you know if you’re getting too tired to drive, but sleepiness can sneak up on you. For example, if you:
- Forget the last few miles you drove
- Drifted far enough to hear the rumble strips
- Find yourself blinking frequently
- Shaking your head every few miles
You are effectively too tired to keep driving. Many people think that turning up the music or finding coffee will fix this, but it won’t. The only answer – the only safe choice – is to stop and rest. Is it uncomfortable to sleep in your car? Sure. But it’s a lot more comfortable than getting into an accident.
Pressure and sleep deprivation
You can rest to keep safe, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone on the road. Commercial truck drivers are often under tight deadlines and feel they cannot take a break to sleep.
Likewise, people with chronic sleep conditions may not distinguish between extreme exhaustion and their normal state. No one can handle sleeplessness without severe loss of attentiveness and reaction time.
What to do if a drowsy driver hits you
If someone asleep at the wheel causes an accident, and you’re injured, you can pursue compensation. It may take time, but you can hold the person who hurt you accountable and get help with your medical bills. You shouldn’t have to go into debt to handle injuries caused by someone who refused to take a nap.