Drowsy driving is bad — but people still convince themselves that they’ll be fine to drive if they just have another cup of coffee, open the window of the car to get some fresh air or turn up the music.
Here’s the problem: Those things generally only buy you enough time to get to a rest stop or somewhere else where you can sleep for a while. They’re not a substitute for actual rest. Just the same, drowsy drivers are pretty much everywhere on the nation’s roads. Consider these statistics:
- Even though 39% of seniors over 65 years of age acknowledge the fact that it is dangerous to drive while fatigued or sleepy, one-third (33.5%) also admit to falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Almost one-third (32.9%) of all male drivers admit to falling asleep while driving, along with slightly more than one-fifth (22.2%) of all female drivers.
- A 2010 study indicates that approximately one out of every six fatal wrecks are believed to be due to drowsy driving — and one out of eight wrecks that merely lead to hospitalization.
- In 2009, 7 out of 10 drivers of adult age admitted to driving while drowsy at least once a month — despite the fact that drowsy driving and drunk driving are considered just about equally dangerous.
So what can you do to protect yourself on the road? First, recognize when you’re simply too tired to drive. If you absolutely have to be somewhere, call a friend or take an Uber to get there safely. Unfortunately, you can only control your own behavior, which means that you may still end up in an accident with another driver who is fatigued. If that happens, remember that you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and loss.