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Explaining drowsy driving

Personal injury attorney will tell you that is does not take much imagination to figure out that drowsiness and driving is a dangerous combination. Sleepiness and driving can be just as fatal as drinking and driving. Just like alcohol, drowsiness slows down reaction time, decreases awareness, and even impairs judgment. Investigators cannot definitively determine when drowsy driving is the cause of a fatal crash, but there are clues at a crash scene that tips off investigators that a driver fell asleep at the wheel. For example:

  1. Drowsy driving accidents usually involve only one vehicle, and the injuries tend to be serious or fatal.
  2. Skid marks or evidence of evasive maneuvers are usually absent from a drowsy driving crash scene.

Unfortunately, no objective test has been developed yet to test for sleepiness behind the wheel. From a legal definition standpoint, definitions of drowsy driving or driver fatigue. These terms have different meanings in research, but they tend to be used interchangeably by law enforcement and traffic safety officials.

Causes of driver drowsiness

There are numerous reasons that a driver will be on the road drowsy. The most common cause is lack of consistent or regular sleep. For professional drivers, the most prevalent problems revolve around sleep debt of related to driving patterns or work schedules. Many drivers have an undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. Some drivers are under the influence of strong medications, and the consumption of alcohol is always a consideration.

Consider the following signs that it is time to pull over:

  • You experience difficulty focusing
  • Frequent blinking or heavy eyelids
  • Disconnected thoughts or daydreaming
  • You have trouble remembering the last couple of miles driven
  • Missing exits or traffic signs
  • Repeated yawning
  • Drifting from your lane, or maintaining a consistent speed
  • Feeling restless or irritable

In order to ensure that your mind and body are in optimal driving shape, you need to plan, and to get 7-8 hours of sleep before your drive. Consider some other methods that will help reduce drowsiness while driving:

  • Take a short nap before a road trip can help make up for a short night’s sleep.
  • If you find yourself drowsy while driving, do not hesitate to pull over and take a 20-minute nap.
  • Remember that we are normally groggy for 15 minutes or so after waking up.
  • Whenever possible, drive with a partner on long trips.
  • Stop every two hours to rest.
  • Do not drink alcohol before your trip.
  • If possible, drink caffeine, although be aware that the effects of caffeine will wear off eventually.

Get answers to your questions from the Charlotte accident lawyers or injury attorney

If you have been in an accident, truck crash or trucking accident, motorcycle crash, bicycle accident, or any other type of driving incident, contact the Olive Law Firm of Charlotte, NC. The Olive law firm has been helping Carolinians find just compensation for personal injury cases for nearly 60 years. Call their office today to schedule a free consultation for your personal injury case.


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