Authorities say that drowsy driving causes thousands of crashes in the United States each year, many resulting in serious injury or death.

With summer well under way, many people in Tennessee, as well as across the country, will be preparing to go on road trips and other vacations that require a lot of driving - in many cases, more time on the road than some are used to. Increased time behind the wheel can raise the chances of getting into a car accident, especially if someone was too tired to safely drive.

National attention on drowsy driving often takes the back seat when compared to other driving hazards, such as drunk or distracted driving. However, this does not in any way lessen the risk of serious injuries or death that drowsy driving poses. According to the National Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving causes about 100,000 crashes throughout the country each year, resulting in more than 1,500 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. About 60 percent of adult drivers surveyed said they have driven while feeling tired during the past year, with more than a third of them admitting to have fallen asleep behind the wheel.

Drowsy driving facts

Authorities claim that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Along with decreasing a driver's perception and reaction time, drowsy driving can cause people to become more stressed and irritable behind the wheel and increase their likelihood of losing patience or speeding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, younger drivers are among those most likely to get behind the wheel sleepy. Others include people who work late shifts, commercial truckers, those with untreated sleep disorders, people who take sedative medications or those who don't get enough sleep.

There are numerous signs that can warn a driver that he or she should pull over for some rest. These include the following:

  • Drifting in and out of the lane
  • Missing an exit
  • Not being able to remember the last few miles driven
  • Driving on the rumble strip
  • Yawning, blinking or nodding head

First and foremost, people can prevent an auto accident due to drowsy driving by getting enough sleep before taking a trip. It can also help to drive with a partner to switch turns driving or keep the driver awake, pull over to take a nap when tired or take a break every couple of hours. However, even the most careful planning cannot prevent another driver from causing an accident.

Nashville crash reportedly caused by driver up all night

Last April in Nashville, reported WSMV News, a vehicle crossed the double yellow line before side-swiping another car and then smashing into a pickup truck head-on. Four people, including a 3-year-old child, were injured in the crash. The driver admitted to having been tired after working throughout the night. Fortunately, all of those injured were expected to recover.

People who are injured by the negligent actions of others may be eligible for the compensation of their injuries. This includes those who suffered as the result of a drowsy driver.


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