What should Carlsbad drivers know about drowsy driving? It is extremely dangerous, and it may result in impaired driving car accidents that are similar to those involving alcohol. According to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, reported in a CBS News article, the risks of drowsy driving are actually quite comparable to those of drunk driving. Specifically, missing anywhere from two to three hours of sleep per night (or more) can quadruple a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash. What is the ideal amount of sleep for an adult? Adult drivers should sleep for at least seven hours per night. With that figure in mind, losing two to three hours of sleep on any given night means that driving after sleeping for only four or five hours can drastically increase the risk of an accident.
Whether you are driving locally in Carlsbad or are on the I-5 heading to work, it is extremely important to avoid drowsy driving. What else can California drivers learn from the recent AAA study?
Drowsy or Fatigued Driving Can Be More Dangerous Than Other Risky Behaviors
Could drowsy driving actually be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol or distracted driving? According to the article, drowsy driving—or fatigued driving—may be more hazardous than distracted driving simply because fewer drivers understand the risk. While parents generally understand the risks of texting or talking while driving, there is little discussion surrounding the risks of fatigued driving.
What is one of the common misconceptions about drowsy driving? Many people believe that fatigued driving tends to impact drivers on long trips, or long-haul truck drivers, for instance. While covering a substantial number of highway miles may induce drowsiness and require the driver to take a break, fatigued driving can easily affect local drivers, as well. Regardless of the type of driving that you are doing, it is very important to take away one of the key points from the study: as a society, we know how dangerous drunk driving can be and as such we have instituted laws to prevent it, yet drowsy driving may be just as dangerous.
Fatigued Driving Impacts Teens and Night-Shift Drivers
It is also important to realize that drowsy driving can affect almost anyone and that inexperienced teen drivers, as well as elderly drivers and those driving home after night shifts, may be at particularly high risk of a fatigued driving accident.
The article cites an instance of a teen driver who likely fell asleep at the wheel, which led his car to cross three lanes of traffic, to flip several times, and finally to come to a stop after crashing into a tree. The teen driver sustained fatal injuries in the crash. His parents emphasize that we need to do more to educate teens and their families about the dangers of drowsy driving.
Yet teens are not the only ones who tend to be at especially high risk of a drowsy driving crash. According to the AAA director for traffic safety and advocacy, there are three key groups of people who tend to be at higher risk of a collision caused by fatigued driving:
- Teen drivers;
- Seniors; and
- Night-shift workers.
As the AAA director underscores, many people are not aware that “driving with having only earned four to five hours of sleep in a 24-hour period can be just as impairing as driving legally drunk.” In order to prevent such accidents from happening, it is important for the driver to acknowledge her or his limitations and to pull over to rest. In addition, passengers can help to keep a driver alert and to take over the wheel in the event that the driver becomes fatigued.
Contact a Carlsbad Car Accident Lawyer
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(image courtesy of Sean Brown)