When thinking about the potential dangers on the road in the New York Metropolitan area, people will name texting and driving, drunk driving, speeding, recklessness and other examples before drowsy driving comes up. However, drivers getting behind the wheel when they are drowsy is also a major risk for motor vehicle accidents. When crashes occur, it is important to consider the cause when seeking compensation for medical costs, lost income and a wrongful death.
A recent survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) of more than 2,000 people showed that 45 percent of adults have had a problem staying awake when behind the wheel. This is in line with statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety saying that there is an average of 328,000 crashes with 6,400 fatalities every year. The hallmarks of drowsy driving are comparable to driving drunk. It negatively impacts reaction time and hinders decision-making ability.
One of the simplest and most obvious ways to avoid drowsy driving is to get sufficient sleep. Other factors can cause drivers to become drowsy such as late-night driving or driving alone. When on an extended trip, it is wise to share the driving load with others. People frequently try various strategies to stay awake including ingesting caffeine, opening the window and playing the radio very loudly. Caffeine has a limited effect as it will only work for a short time. The other tactics do not help.
There are clear signals for a person who is too drowsy to be driving including consistent yawning, having trouble keeping their eyes open, nodding off, a lack of memory of the previous few miles, missing road signs, tailgating, drifting and driving on the shoulder. While greater attention is being paid to drowsy drivers and the dangers they cause, people will continue to get behind the wheel when they are too tired to drive.