With fewer hours of daylight as we move through autumn, more drivers find themselves commuting to and from work in partial or total darkness. That can make it even more challenging to stay awake and alert.
If you’re visiting our blog because you’ve already been involved in a car crash, it’s only natural that you’re trying to be more conscientious than ever behind the wheel. You know from firsthand experience that a negligent or reckless driver can seemingly come out of nowhere.
It’s essential to avoid being a fatigued or sleepy driver. More than 100,000 crashes every year are attributed to drowsy driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2018 nearly 800 people were killed in crashes involving a drowsy driver.
So what steps can you take to keep from becoming one of these statistics?
First, get enough sleep. Americans are notoriously sleep-deprived. Many people who would never get behind the wheel after drinking regularly drive while they’re sleepy. In a National Sleep Foundation poll, over a third of respondents admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving.
It’s essential to recognize the signs of being tired (like yawning, blinking and difficulty focusing) and pull over before it’s too late. Some cars even have fatigue warning systems that recognize some of these and other signs of drowsy driving and alert the driver.
If you’re on a road trip and start feeling sleepy, stop at a motel for the night. Don’t try to “power through” to your destination. If you’re sharing the driving chores, change drivers.
While you’re probably more likely to be overcome by drowsiness at night, it can happen at any time of day. In fact, if you’re driving in bright sunlight without sunglasses, having to squint can tire your eyes. That’s one more reason why you should always have sunglasses within easy reach in your car.
Chances are that every time you get on the road, there are multiple drivers around you who are too tired, too distracted (or both) to drive safely. If you’re injured in a crash caused by a driver who wasn’t paying attention, make sure that you get the compensation you need and deserve for your expenses and damages.