Arrive Alive! The Risks of Drowsy Driving

This past Friday, it was reported that a fatigued driver had run off the road just after exiting the Harbor Bridge on I-37 in Portland. Luckily the driver was okay although he did suffer from cuts to his face, and had been rushed to the hospital for treatment. However this isn’t the first, just recently another accident was reported at the intersection of Weber and McArdle about a cab driver who worked a 13-hour shift and, according to him, “probably” fell asleep at the wheel crashing into multiple vehicles. With these accidents occurring on the road only a week into the New Year, we’ve put together some startling facts regarding drowsy driving and a few tips on how you can remain awake and focused to avoid these costly scenarios.

Drowsy Driving Statistics

Even if you do not fall asleep, driving while drowsy is just as bad if not worse. Not only does it slow your reaction time but it also decreases your attention to the road itself causing you to tune in and out for miles.  It is reported to be worse than driving while intoxicated.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety between 1999 and 2007, 17% of all fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver. In a follow-up study, that number jumped to a frightening 21% between 2008 and 2013 – that’s 328,000 annual crashes in which a person was killed involved a drowsy driver. Almost 900 accidents a day! And these numbers are all underestimated. It is incredibly difficult for cops to determine whether or not accidents are caused by drowsy drivers and rely heavily on on-scene investigators or the driver themselves to let them know.

Warning Signs and What to do About Drowsiness

  • Yawning
  • Blinking frequently
  • Missing your exit
  • Drifting out of lane
  • Hitting the rumble strip

Turning up the radio or rolling down the windows can only do so much in terms of keeping you awake. Here are some tips to stay alert while driving according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Turn off your Cruise Control; Staying actively involved while driving is crucial to your safety and the safety of others.
  • Get involved in an active conversation; talk the ear off of your passenger if it means arriving safe and sound.
  • Sit up straight! Slouching is said to promote sleepiness.
  • If you plan to take a long trip, arrange for someone to ride with so you both can switch off driving and keep each other company.
  • If you get off late from work, arrange for someone to pick you up.
  • BE RESPONSIBLE.

Drowsy driving is a serious public issue that causes serious car accidents and deserves more attention. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and doing what it takes to be an alert, responsible driver on the road because not only is your life on the line, but the life of another as well. And always remember that the lawyers and staff at Herrman and Herrman, P.L.L.C., are here to help.

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