There are many situations when drowsy driving is present. Whether someone has had a late night out with friends, a long day at work or has a newborn baby at home, being on New York roadways with a lack of sleep poses serious risks to everyone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports drowsy driving crashes resulted in 795 fatalities in 2017.
When the dropping eyes, nodding head, blurry vision and constant yawning begin, it’s important for a driver to evaluate their true state of exhaustion and determine whether it’s safe to get behind the wheel.
Who is most likely to drive drowsy?
Sleep-deprivation is common for everyone at times, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites certain demographics are more susceptible to exhaustion and fatigue daily. This includes the following people:
- Commercial truck drivers: Driving long distances with few breaks oftentimes leads to drowsy driving. When a commercial driver fights fatigue, they especially pose a risk to anyone else on the roadway. Accidents with large trailers, semi-trucks and buses can lead to fatalities.
- Shift workers: Whether someone works in healthcare, manufacturing or another field with shift work, working long hours or through the night can cause sleep-deprivation. This, in turn, affects one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders: Especially when left untreated, a sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea may cause someone to fall asleep while driving.
- People who take certain medications: People need medications for a variety of reasons, and a common side effect of both prescription and over-the-counter medications is drowsiness.
This does not cover everyone who drives drowsy, nor does it mean that all people who fall into those categories drive while fatigued. Everyone, no matter their occupation or health condition, may have driven tired at some point.
What are the signs you’ve been involved in a drowsy driving accident?
This is not a comprehensive list of all driving crash indicators but instead outlines general trends revolving around the time, speed and what driving action or inaction led to the crash.
Crashes resulting from drowsy driving often happen between midnight and 6:00 am, or in the middle to late afternoon. The most catastrophic accidents occur on high speed roadways, but crashes can still occur at slower speeds. When an accident is imminent, many drowsy drivers don’t attempt to do anything to possibly prevent it, such as braking.
Drowsy driving presents many hazards because it can have similar effects to drunk driving, like slower reaction times and altered decision-making. Operating a powerful vehicle should not be taken lightly or be an abused privilege. Driving while drowsy could be a sign of negligence on someone’s part, especially if it leads to an accident and injuries.