We’ve all been there, wiping our eyes free from the sleep we’ve just woken up from and getting behind the wheel of the car before we’re ready because we have to be to our destination early that morning. Maybe it’s the other end of the day where you have been leaving a get together, well past the point when you feel wide awake and alert, but you need to get home. In both cases, STOP and do not get behind the wheel. If you are not well rested, you should not be driving, period.
The simple fact of the matter is the drowsy driving often plays a central role in New Haven auto accidents and it can be prevented. With all of the options to get home safely without having to get behind the wheel of your car, there is no excuse for drowsy driving. If you feel that you are tired and cannot be safe when driving you should use public transportation, get a friend to drive you or call an Uber. Whatever you do, don’t get behind the wheel of your car.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there are nearly 100,000 car crashes every year that involve someone who was driving while drowsy. Of those nearly 100,000 crashes, there are 71,000 injuries and around 6,400 deaths, EACH YEAR. These staggering numbers make it clear that driving drowsy is not safe in any way. In fact, a number of studies have compared to drowsy driving and drunk driving and the parallels are staggering. The bottom line is, don’t drive drowsy.
There are a number of things that can happen when you are behind the wheel of a car and driving while drowsy. If these things happen to you, your best bet is to pull over to the side of the road, find a safe place to stop and get some rest. Otherwise, while you’re driving you may find yourself faced with the following conditions;
1.) Slower reaction time. Just think about your mindset when you are tired. Being drowsy behind the wheel can lull you into distraction and put you at risk of not being able to react to the road ahead of you in a timely manner. Your reaction time is one of the most important tools you have to keep yourself safe when you’re driving. If you reaction time is slowed, even by a split second it could be the difference between seeing an accident unfold ahead of you and being involved in an accident. A slower reaction time is one of the deadliest things you can experience when driving.
2.) Impaired judgement. Similarly to when someone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your judgement may become impaired when you’re driving while drowsy. You may be more inclined to drive over the speed limit so you can get home more quickly because you are tired. The reverse may also happen, you may drive below the speed limit because you are not making a good judgement about your speed as it relates to the traffic around you. When your judgement is impaired your ability to operate a car is also significantly impaired.
3.) Microsleeps. If you’ve ever experienced a microsleep you know that it is one of the most terrifying things to happen to you while you’re driving. One minute your eyes are on the road and the next minute you wake up and you’re in a completely different section of the road. These split second situations can lead to lasting impacts. When you experience a microsleep your eyes close only for a brief moment, but that is all it takes to lose sight of the road ahead of you and get into an accident. If you are experiencing microsleeps you need to get yourself off the road immediately and find another way home or get some sleep before you continue.
Driving a car or any vehicle on the road can be dangerous and comes with lots of pitfalls, but when you’re driving while drowsy you are asking to get into a New Haven auto accident. It doesn’t matter how important getting to your next destination may seem, it is not worth getting behind the wheel of a car if you are too tired to keep your eyes open. Get some sleep and then get on the road when you’re feeling well rested and ready to have good judgement and return to your ability to operate your vehicle safely over the entire course of your drive.
If you do get injured in an accident you may need to speak with an attorney. Contact our office and one of our experienced attorneys can work to understand your situation and protect your long-term interests. Don’t hesitate to call us and tell us all about your situation.