Virtually all drivers already know that operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is very dangerous. Although many drivers choose to drive while intoxicated anyway, due to massive public outreach and education programs, there are very few drivers who are entirely unfamiliar with the dangers of driving in an impaired state.
It is, of course, very important that we continue to remind drivers how driving while intoxicated endangers not only their own lives but the lives of anyone with whom they may be sharing the road as well. However, because we emphasize spreading awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, we often forget to discuss other risky behaviors, such as driving while tired.
Don’t underestimate the degree to which driving when you haven’t had enough sleep can impact your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Medical research indicates that lack of sleep can impair someone in the same way that alcohol can. Although it can sometimes be difficult to accurately determine precisely how many crashes result from drowsy driving, statistics indicate sleep-deprived driving is likely among the leading causes of accidents in the US.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to get behind the wheel not realizing they are too tired to drive safely. Those who have caused accidents because they fell asleep while driving often has reported that they did not feel they were as tired as they must have been when they made the decision to drive.
To protect yourself and others, you need to familiarize yourself with the signs that you are too drowsy to operate a motor vehicle. They include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:
There are certain common physical symptoms you should monitor yourself for to determine if you are too tired to be driving. If you are yawning, frequently blinking, or having trouble keeping your eyes open, you shouldn’t be operating a motor vehicle. Find a safe place to rest and get some sleep before resuming your trip.
A simple test you can perform to determine if you should continue driving or if you should get rest first involves trying to recall specific details about the last few miles you have traveled. Details can include any landmarks you may have passed, which exits or intersections you’ve passed, and even what songs were playing on the radio if you tend to actively pay attention to such details. If you are struggling to remember these details, you may be drowsier than you realize.
This warning sign clearly indicates you should stop driving and try to find a place to catch some sleep. If you have had trouble maintaining your lane, you’ve been tailgating, you’ve missed an exit, or you have otherwise engaged in unsafe behavior while driving, it’s time to pull over.
Unfortunately, even if you monitor yourself for these warning signs, you can’t prevent others from choosing to drive when they may be too tired to do so safely. If you’re ever harmed in an accident involving a drowsy driver, our team of Philadelphia car accident attorneys at Soloff & Zervanos is available to help you pursue the compensation for which you may be eligible. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at 215-929-7216.