Drowsy driving is defined as driving under the influence of sleepiness, either due to insufficient sleep or to the use of sedating drugs. A person will generally feel sleepy when reduced alertness with an associated diminished capacity for mental or physical activity. The term “drowsy” does not always involve being asleep but being markedly less awake than usual. Drowsiness is a common problem faced by many people. It affects all age groups, from children to elders, though younger children and teenagers are more prone to it than adults. Even people in healthcare, law enforcement, and transportation can be prone to drowsiness.
What Causes Drowsy Driving?
There are many ways that drowsiness can be caused whether the person knows it or not. Some factors that contribute to drowsiness include:
- Over-the-counter sleep aids- Sleep aids such as melatonin and Tylenol PM can cause drowsiness after use, primarily when used for prolonged periods of time.
- Prescription medications- Some prescription medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and some pain killers can cause moderate to extreme drowsiness in patients.
- Low blood sugar levels- When those who suffer from low blood sugar do not consume enough glucose, their cells don’t have sufficient energy to function at high levels and the result may be fatigue and drowsiness.
- Cold medications and sleep aids- These medications are hazardous to take before conducting a vehicle. When used alone or combined with alcohol, they can reduce your ability to stay awake and react quickly.
- Alcohol- Specific types of alcohol can cause drowsiness in people and can even react poorly with prescription medications. Alcohol whether on its own or used in combination with something else can be incredibly dangerous to consume before driving.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)- This disorder is characterized by at least 6 months of constant and consistent drowsiness without a known cause. It does not improve with adequate rest and should be treated by a medical professional.
- Sleep deprivation- Not getting enough sleep can dramatically affect the way one operates a vehicle. It is recommended that the average person gets about 7 hours of sleep at night though, depending on the person, they may require more or less sleep to function effectively.
Even though drowsiness is a common problem, many people still do not know that it is a significant factor in traffic accidents. Fatigue, or being tired, can impair driving skills and increase the risk of having a car accident. Even if you feel like you are awake and alert when you are driving, you may still be at high risk of having an accident if you are sleep-deprived in any way. That is why driving tired can be fatal both for the driver and other people on the road.
How It Can Affect Other People
Drowsy drivers are more likely to take longer to react, even when feeling alert. This can lead to an accident. In some cases, drowsiness leads the driver to fall asleep while driving. When this happens, the person will lose control of their car, leading to a crash.
A drowsy driver can be hazardous and cause a fatal accident. If a driver is driving for an extended time, their reaction time will be slower, their attention will be divided, and their judgment may become impaired. This combination of factors can make it more likely to cause a car crash.
It is important that drivers take precautions to protect themselves and others from the dangers associated with driving while tired. This is why drivers should never attempt to drive after feeling fatigued in any way. Drinking coffee or eating a meal containing caffeine and starchy foods that cause increased energy should also be avoided before driving. Drivers should also make sure that they are getting enough sleep every night.
What To Do If You Get Sleepy While Driving
When you are tired, your ability to stay alert and concentrate decreases. This makes it more likely that you will have an accident. If you notice yourself becoming drowsy while driving you should pull over. When you are pulled over you have the options of:
- Parking your car, if possible, and resting for a period of time.
- Call a friend or family member to come pick you up.
- Calling a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft to drive you to your destination if you need to be there at a certain time.
Before you get into a vehicle, you should also be sure to do the following to reduce the likelihood of driving while drowsy:
- Never drink alcohol before driving as it reduces your ability to stay alert.
- Never take medication that causes drowsiness or keep medicines in the car if it affects your ability to drive if you are feeling sleepy.
If you need to drive yourself somewhere and you notice the effects of your drowsiness, it is best to find some other way to get to your destination or to postpone any activity until you are at your most alert.
In summary, drowsiness is a common cause of car accidents, resulting in severe injuries or even death. It is hard to avoid this condition altogether, but with these tips, you will reduce your risk of becoming involved in an accident due to drowsy driving. Remember that this condition can cause more harm when combined with other factors such as alcohol and medications. Of course, it is best to consult a lawyer if an accident occurs. You can only get the compensation necessary to cover all your expenses by consulting with an attorney.
Contact Dash Injury Law Firm
It is essential to have a legal attorney you can quickly contact if you have been injured by a driving driver or fell asleep at the wheel. They can do a thorough investigation to see if the drowsy driving of another motorist caused you harm. Dash Injury law firm has a team of experienced attorneys in the country’s most populated areas. They are devoted to providing the best possible legal representation and support in times of crisis. If you or a loved one has been harmed due to another driver who was driving drowsily, contact your attorney immediately.