We all know getting a good night’s sleep is beneficial for our health. However, it is also good for the safety of ourselves and the safety of others — especially on the road. Drowsy driving is a major cause of car accidents in Billings and across the U.S.
How big is the drowsy driving problem?
According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 91,000 car accidents reported to police in the U.S. in 2017 involved a driver who was fatigued. Approximately 50,000 individuals suffered injuries in these crashes and approximately 800 people lost their lives in drowsy driving accidents in 2017.
Most drowsy driving crashes took place between midnight and 6:00 in the morning, or in the late afternoon. Overnight crashes may make sense, as they may involve people who have simply been up too late or third-shift workers and truck drivers who drive during the night and do not get adequate sleep during the day. However, the late afternoon sees a significant number of drowsy driving crashes due to a natural downturn in our body’s circadian rhythm at that time of day.
Can drowsy driving be prevented?
The best prevention against drowsy driving is getting a healthy amount of sleep before getting behind the wheel. It is also important to note that certain medications can make a person sleepy, so these should be avoided when driving.
People may think that tactics such as drinking coffee or an energy drink, rolling down the window for some fresh air or playing the radio loudly will keep them awake enough to drive. However, any benefits from these strategies is miniscule at best and ultimately will likely not prevent an accident.
In the end drowsy driving may be considered a breach of a driver’s duty of care, and victims of accidents caused by drowsy drivers may want to determine if they can pursue a legal claim. If it can be shown that the at-fault driver negligently caused a car crash, victims of the crash who suffered damages may be able to pursue compensation.