Just how dangerous is driving while drowsy? According to a recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the answer may be surprising. The organization found that "a sleepy driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver." In fact, a driver that has not slept for 24 hours is comparable to a driver operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent. That's well over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
How can we avoid drowsy driving? Although data shows that drowsy driving is dangerous, actually avoiding it may be difficult. We live in a hectic time. We are expected to stay updated on current events, respond to messages from clients and employers and still cater to the needs of our families.
How is it possible to get behind the wheel while fully rested and still meet these expectations? The following tips from the study can help you reduce the risk of involvement in a drowsy accident:
- Crash in bed, not on the road. This catchy phrase is used throughout the study. Not only does it stick with you, but it holds true. Getting enough rest is the first step towards avoiding drowsy driving accidents. Research recommends averaging seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
- Choose when you drive. Deciding when to drive can also impact your risk of involvement in a drowsy driving accident. Research has also shown that driving between midnight and seven a.m. as well as mid-afternoon puts you at an increased risk for involvement in a crash related to sleep deprivation. Why? Apparently drivers are naturally least alert at these times. Add in a lack of adequate rest and a catastrophic accident could result.
- Take a friend. Having a friend or family member in the vehicle with you can help you to remain alert. If conversation alone does not help, having another driver also allows you the option to split the driving time.
Unfortunately, even those who take every measure to reduce the risk of involvement in an accident can be the victims of drowsy driving crashes. If you were involved in an accident and believe the other driver is at fault, remedies may be available. These remedies can include monetary awards to cover the costs associated with the accident. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.