You may be tempted to laugh off a poor night’s rest, but chronic sleep deprivation is no joking matter. In addition to being bad for your health, not sleeping well can be unsafe for you and others, especially when behind the wheel. Each year, thousands of people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere suffer serious or fatal injuries in accidents stemming from drowsy driving.
The statistics surrounding drowsy driving are eye-opening. According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 71,000 people sustain injuries and 1,550 die in fatigue-related crashes every year. In recent studies, 60 percent of drivers admitted to driving drowsy at some point during the past year, while 37 percent stated that they had fallen asleep while driving. An additional 13 percent say drowsy driving is a recurring issue for them. How can you avoid becoming one of these statistics? You may start by being aware of the following signs that you are becoming too sleepy to safely drive:
- Hitting the rumble strip in the middle or at the shoulder of the road
- Feeling dazed or not remembering the last few miles you drove
- Missing a turnoff or not noticing stoplights or traffic signs
- Having difficulty keeping your eyes open or nodding off
When you notice signs of drowsiness or simply begin to feel tired, it is important to pull over as soon as you are safely able and take a break. If you are on a long trip, you might want to get out of your vehicle and stretch your legs or take a short nap. If you regularly find yourself drowsy during your daily drive to and from work, you may want to evaluate your sleeping patterns and see your doctor if you think you might have a sleep disorder.
These tips may help you avoid causing an accident, but do not prevent others from driving dangerously. If you are the victim of a crash, you may need to seek legal assistance.