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The Dangers of Drowsy Driving


Drowsy driving consists of a dangerous combination of operating a vehicle while fatigued or tired, which often occurs when someone did not get enough sleep, worked a late shift, has an untreated sleep disorder, has been taking medications, or has been driving under the influence. Drowsiness makes you less focused on the road, delays your reaction time when it comes to unexpected traffic conditions, and negatively impacts your judgment and decision-making abilities.

Fatigued driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 100,000 police-report collisions involve drowsy drivers, resulting in over 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths each year. The National Sleep Foundation claims that about half of adult drivers in the U.S. admit to driving while drowsy and 20 percent admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point.

The following are several ways to avoid fatigued driving:

  • Get a good night’s sleep – The best way to avoid drowsy driving is by getting adequate sleep each day—at least seven (7) to eight (8) hours per night. Especially if you have a long drive ahead of you, you need to get yourself a good night’s rest to prevent putting yourself and any passengers in danger.

  • Take frequent breaks – If you find yourself trying to combat drowsiness, do not hesitate to stop and take a break. Find a safe place to stop—rather than on the shoulder of a freeway or road—and take a short nap of between 15 to 20 minutes. If you are still tired, stay overnight at a hotel or motel if necessary.

  • Avoid driving late at night – When it is dark outside, people become less alert and more tired. If you work the night or graveyard shift, try not to drive during the times when your body is used to sleeping.

  • Do not drink or take any medications before driving – Alcohol and medicines, such as pain relievers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and many prescribed medications can cause fatigue and hinder your ability to properly operate a vehicle.

  • Purchase crash avoidance technology – Many newer vehicles have a variety of safety features installed—like drowsiness alert and lane departure warnings—that detect fatigued driving patterns and warn drivers to remain alert or take a break.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a drowsy driving accident in Tampa Bay, FL, contact Paulsen Law Group today for a free initial consultation. Our legal team has more than 15 years of legal experience!

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