Drowsy driving a hidden danger when it comes to North Carolina car accidents

Drowsy driving is the sixth topic in our seven blog series encouraging Carolina motorists to get serious about safe driving in 2011. The statistics are frightening. Don’t be the cause of a drowsy driving Carolina car accident if you are too tired to drive.

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 730 crashes nationwide and 1,875 fatalities caused by drowsy driving in 2009. Experts believe the numbers are likely much, higher. Too often motorists discount the risks of driving while tired and there is no uniform reporting standard followed by law enforcement.
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Accidents from drivers falling asleep at the wheel, occur with alarming frequency. According to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study , over 56% of drowsy driving crashes are from drivers traveling off the roadway or wandering into another lane. Drivers 16 to 24 years of age are two times more likely to have a drowsy driving crash than drivers who are 40 to 59 years old.

Other findings in the study included:
-Over 16% of all fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver.

-Vehicles with passengers are almost 50% less likely to have a drowsy driving crash.

-Almost 6 out of 10 drivers that admitted to falling asleep at the wheel did it on a high speed divided highway.

-26% of drivers who admitted falling asleep at the wheel in the past year, did so between the hours of noon and 5 p.m.

-Almost 60% of drivers who admitted to falling asleep at the wheel did so after driving less than an hour. Only 20% said they fell asleep after driving over 3 hours.

-Men are involved in drowsy driving crashes more than women.

Our series was introduced in a previous blog with Road TripAmerica’s 70 Rules of Defensive Driving. It is believed that defensive drivers make safer drivers. In rule #45, Start rested – keep fresh, it’s quite simple, if you are tired or drowsy then don’t drive. Knowing your tendencies to drowsiness is a huge factor in becoming a safer driver.

Here are some suggestions to avoid drowsy driving:
-Get at least 6 hours of sleep before any long trip.

-Drive during hours when you are normally awake; don’t try to drive all night if you aren’t use to those hours.

-A good rule of thumb is to schedule breaks every 100 miles or approximately every two hours.

-Don’t work all day then try to drive all night.

-Travel with a passenger who will keep you awake.

-Drinking caffeinated beverages helps but it takes around 30 minutes for the caffeine to kick in.

Please remember to stop driving if you become sleepy. A tired driver has the potential to fall asleep at any second. Fatigue affects your vision, judgment and reaction time. One of the easiest resolutions a driver can make for 2011 is vow not to drive drowsy.

If you have been involved in a car crash, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment. Call 800-887-1965.

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