Have you ever gotten behind the wheel even though you didn't feel very well rested? Have you had a terrifying moment when you realized that you couldn't remember your last few moments on the road?
Every day, people get behind the wheel when they feel fatigued. They may not have slept enough the night before. They may suffer from a sleep disorder that prevents them from sleeping soundly. They may have taken a sleep aid the previous night to help them sleep.
Have you ever considered whether you are at risk of driving while drowsy?
Here are some of the factors that may increase the likelihood that you are at risk:
- You are between the ages of 19 and 24. A new study conducted by AAA found that almost 40 percent of drivers in that age group reported having trouble keeping their eyes open behind the wheel on at least one occasion during the last month.
- You do not get enough sleep each night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that adults need seven hours, while teenagers need a minimum of eight hours of sleep every night.
- You are a truck driver. People who must drive long distances on a regular basis, like commercial truck drivers, are at a greater risk of becoming fatigued on the road, according to the CDC.
- You suffer from a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea. In all, over 70 million people in the U.S. have sleep disorders, according to the Institute of Medicine.
- You use sleep aids or other medications that cause drowsiness.
New report finds many people fall asleep behind the wheel
When you're driving long distances or haven't gotten enough sleep the night before, it can be easy for the open road to lull you to sleep behind the wheel. Even nodding off for a moment can have horrible consequences, not only for you and the passengers in your vehicle, but for other motorists on the road, as well.
According to a new study, the number of people who fall asleep, even for a brief moment, when behind the wheel is shockingly high. In all, AAA recently reported that approximately 43 percent of motorists in the United States have fallen asleep while behind the wheel on at least one occasion during their life.
The facts about drowsy driving
Although it can be difficult to determine exactly how many crashes are caused by fatigued drivers every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 people are killed every year in such crashes.
In all, fatigue was considered a contributing factor in almost 40 percent of all auto accidents on U.S. highways from 2001 to 2012, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
In California alone, drowsy drivers caused over 4,280 motor vehicle accidents in 2013, according to the California Highway Patrol. Of those crashes, 2,046 people suffered injuries and 28 people lost their lives.
Take action after a drowsy driving crash
When a fatigued motorist causes a collision, the consequences can be disastrous for everyone involved. If you or someone you love has been involved in such a crash, you need to ensure you have a strong advocate on your side. The attorneys at Piering Law Firm understand the challenges faced after a drowsy driving crash and are ready to work for you.