It happens at an alarming rate. Drivers barely able to keep their eyes open are driving all over New York City and placing pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists on the road at risk. Drowsy driving can cause drivers to focus less on the road, have slower reaction times if they need to suddenly steer or brake, and have a decreased capacity to make safe decisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 25 drivers admits to falling asleep at the wheel at some point. That’s a frightening number when you consider how many drivers are on the road.
Drowsy Driving Causes
Drowsy driving is most typically caused by a lack of sleep, but there are specific situations that can lead to drowsiness:
- Working overnight shifts
- Taking certain medications—prescription or over the counter
- Driving for long periods without taking a break
- Untreated medical conditions, such as sleep apnea.
Drowsy Driving Signs
Unfortunately, there is no test that can tell you when you may be too tired to drive. When you are tired, it can have a detrimental effect on your ability to make decisions. You may believe you’re not too drowsy to drive. To determine whether you are too tired to be driving, you should look for some of these signs:
- Trouble keeping your eyes open
- Nodding your head
- Frequent yawning or rubbing your eyes
- Drifting out of your lane
- Drifting off the road and hitting rumble strips
- Missing your exit
- Missing traffic signs
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles of the drive
- Feeling irritable and restless
If you notice any of these signs, you should find a safe place to pull over immediately and get some rest.
Drowsy Driving Prevention
To make sure you are alert enough to drive, here are some steps you can take:
- Make sure you’ve had an adequate amount of sleep before getting on the road, especially if you are going on a long trip.
- When you drive on long trips, try to bring a friend so you can take turns at the wheel
- Take frequent breaks and don’t rush. You’ll get to your destination eventually
- Do not drink even a small amount of alcohol before driving
- Read the warning labels on any prescription or over the counter medication you take to make sure it won’t make you drowsy
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident with a drowsy driver, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.