At the end of a long day, there are many of us who may struggle to stay awake and alert while driving home. There are also other instances where you might be struggling to stay awake, be it during a long drive or after a long day of physical activity. The point is that you are drowsy and trying to maintain control of a vehicle that has the capacity to do a significant amount of damage.
In Long Beach, car accident lawyers deal with the impacts of drowsy driving in a variety of accidents. Clearly, the goal is to prevent drowsy driving from effecting your driving ability and impairing your judgment.
First, let’s talk about the five dangers of drowsy driving, before sharing how to handle an accident involving falling asleep behind the wheel.
Dangers Related to Drowsy Driving
It is important to recognize that every time you drive drowsy, you are putting yourself and others at risk. According to the CDC, drowsy driving is a dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue. Feeling drowsy can lead to the following potential dangers:
- Makes you less able to pay attention to the road or signs signaling changes in speed or construction.
- Slows your reaction time if circumstances require you to break or steer quickly.
- Affects your ability to make quick decisions to changing road conditions.
- Less aware of other drivers and the vehicles around you.
- You are not aware of changing weather or road conditions.
These are just five dangers, but clearly you can think of others. All of these dangers could lead to deadly car accidents, either with another vehicle or just by flipping your own vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving can be tied to 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013, although these numbers are considered to be extremely conservative.
How To Prevent Drowsy Driving
To avoid putting yourself and others at risk, it is important to take steps to prevent driving drowsy. First, get enough sleep. Make sure that you stick to a regular bedtime that allows you to get 7 or more hours of sleep. If you struggle with snoring or struggle with feeling rested even after a long night’s sleep, consider working with a medical professional to determine if you have a sleep disorder that needs to be addressed.
Before driving, avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you sleepy. If you are not sure about the effects of a particular medication, then it is important to check with your pharmacist.
What To Do If Drowsy Driving Was a Factor
At least 4% of drivers have reported falling asleep while driving within the previous 30 days, which means that you may come in contact with someone who is drowsy or even sleeping behind the wheel. What should you do if you think that it played a factor in your Long Beach, CA, car accident?
First, it is important to make sure that you have documented the other driver’s condition in the police report. Second, make sure that you have yourself checked out by a medical professional immediately after the accident. Third, you should consider contacting a Long Beach car accident lawyer, who can help to guide you through the legal process to deal with any claims relating to your car accident.
If you are concerned that drowsy driving was a factor in your accident, then contact our knowledgeable and experienced legal team for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Gabriel and Associates is a full-service law office based in Long Beach, California for over 30 years. Areas of practice include personal injury, workers’ compensation, slip and fall, defective products, medical malpractice, bankruptcy, and other business matters.