A new study shows that about 5 percent of all U.S. drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in the last month!
According to The New York Times, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study of more than 145,000 people to determinet who’s most at risk for drowsy driving. Of course, the amount of sleep a driver gets each night has a lot to do with these risks, but there’s more to it.
Our Naples car accident attorneys understand that officials believe that drowsy driving is much more common than reported because drivers aren’t likely to fess up to their poor driving habits! They also believe that many may not report the behavior because they don’t remember it. As a matter of fact, you can nod off at the wheel for just a moment and never realize it.
In 2009, there were close to 750 accidents that involved a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. Another 30,000 accidents involved a drowsy driver. And these are only the ones that were reported. Many more were believed to have occurred undetected.
Accidents that involve drowsy drivers tend to be more serious than others. Injuries are more severe and fatalities are more likely as the driver who falls asleep is less likely to slam on the brakes or to veer from danger as they have virtually no idea what’s going on!
The group of drivers that is most commonly guilty of this dangerous act are those between the ages of 18 and 44. Drivers over the age of 64 came in second place.
The findings of the CDC study were recently published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Unfortunately, most drivers think that they can cure drowsiness behind the wheel by simply rolling down the windows or blasting the music, but that couldn’t be any farther from the truth. These are only temporary fixes and they’ve been proven to be largely ineffective. For some, drinking a caffeinated soda or a coffee can help, but this varies from person to person.
“You can’t really count on caffeine,” said Dr. Anne G. Wheaton with the CDC.
If you start to feel sleepy behind the wheel, your best bet is to pull over and take a nap. You might think that you can fight through sleepiness behind the wheel — but you’re wrong! If you don’t want to stop and take a nap, you can switch driving responsibilities with a licensed passenger. Another important thing to remember is to avoid driving while your body would normally be sleeping.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep at night. You should be getting six or more hours of sleep every night. If you’re snoring, you should talk with a health professional as that could be a sign of a bigger problem.