Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Aims to Help Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in North Carolina

Drowsy driving is more common than you may think, with drivers under the age of 25 accounting for more than 50 percent of all “fall-asleep” car accidents in North Carolina, according to Clinical Compass. Drivers with the most fall-asleep accidents were 20-years-olds. Still, this is a problem plaguing drivers of all ages.
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These accidents take the lives of more than 1,500 people and injure another 71,000 each year nationwide. According to a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about one in every six fatal car accidents involves a drowsy driver. Although more than 95 percent of drivers say that this driving behavior is completely unacceptable, more than a third of drivers surveyed admitted to doing it at least once in the last month.

Our Charlotte car accident lawyers invite you to join Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. This campaign organized by the National Sleep Foundation aims to raise awareness among drivers about this dangerous driving habit, and takes place Nov. 6 -12. The National Sleep Foundation says most drivers underestimate the dangers that come with a sleepy driver.

“People know that they shouldn’t text or drink when they drive, and that’s great,” said David Cloud, CEO of the foundation. “However, many don’t realize that driving while drowsy is also very dangerous.”

According to the more recent poll from the National Sleep Foundation, drivers 16 to 45-years-old admitted to driving while drowsy at least once or twice a week. Cloud says that he acknowledges that people are sleeping less, and in this economy they’re working more. Still, it’s important to stay in tune with your body when you’re behind the wheel of a motor vehicle not only to ensure your own safety, but the safety of others on our roadways.

Driving while drowsy can:

-Slow your reaction time.

-Impair your ability to see.

-Cause lapses in judgment.

-Can hinder your ability to process information.

Recent studies have revealed that a person who has been awake for 20 hours has the same reaction abilities as a person who is legally drunk. When drivers are sleepy at the wheel, it’s extremely possible for them to go into 3- or 4-second bouts of micro-sleep, meaning they are in the car still traveling probably at a high rate of speed, completely unconscious.

Symptoms that indicate you’re experiencing drowsiness behind the wheel:

-You have heavy eyelids or you’re blinking frequently.

-You’re having numerous daydreams.

-You’re having difficulty keeping your head up.

-Your vehicle is drifting in and out of lanes.

-You are unable to clearly remember the last couple of miles you’ve driven.

-You keep yawning.

-You start to feel irritable, restless or aggressive.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important for you to pull over in a safe place and take a break. If you’re traveling with another licensed driver, switch spots and let him or her drive. There is nothing more dangerous that trying to power through your sleepiness. Drowsy Driving Prevention Week organizers are hopeful the campaign can help get drivers to recognize the dangers and appropriate prevention measures.

Lee Law Offices, P.A. represents those who have been injured in car accidents in North Carolina and South Carolina. If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a drowsy driver and need experienced advice about your rights, call 1-800-887-1965 for a free consultation today.

Additional Resources:

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: CMEO and NSF Address Concerns
, by Michelle Ostrander, PhD, Clinical Compass
More Blog Entries:

North Carolina Car Accident Watch: Safer Vehicles Reduce the Risk of Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, October 25, 2011

First-Year Driving Critical for Teens Involved in Statesville Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, October 22, 2011

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