What is a Drowsy Driver?
There are no reliable statistics concerning drowsy driving. There is no test that can be administered to determine whether a driver is too drowsy to drive. No consistent data is kept from jurisdiction to jurisdiction regarding drowsy driving. Estimates from Europe where there are more uniform procedures at accident scenes indicate that as many as 30% of crashes have drowsiness as a factor. Drivers in the United States tend to drive further distances per trip than their European counterparts, so you would not expect less drowsy drivers in the United States.
Operating a 4,000-pound car is the most dangerous thing that the average Floridian does on a daily basis. Driving while drowsy simply raises the level of danger exponentially. Studies have indicated that nearly 75% of all young Americans admit to driving drowsy on a regular basis. The effects of being drowsy are pronounced. Many drivers are even willing to admit having “nodded off” or fallen asleep behind the wheel. Even those drivers that do not actually fall asleep admit that they become:
1. More impatient;
2. More erratic;
3. Drive faster; and
4. Become stressed.
Road Trips and Drowsy Driving
Millions of vacationers and snowbirds drive to Florida every year from all parts of the country. Road trips make drivers particularly vulnerable to drowsy driving. Long hours of driving on straight interstates with little to break up the monotony make the danger of drowsy driving heightened. Most accidents where drowsy driving is a factor occur between midnight and 6 am and between 2 pm and 4 pm. There are several tips that should be followed on road trips to minimize the danger of driving drowsy:
1. Get plenty of rest before a road trip;
2. Stop often and stretch your legs;
3. Change drivers (if it is an option); and
4. Immediately pull over if you begin to feel drowsy.
Why are Drivers Drowsy?
Floridians are sleeping less than ever before. In fact, Florida is one of the most sleep-deprived states in the country. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that almost 33% of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa residents are sleep deprived. Combining sleep deprivation with the fact that the average resident of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa spends almost 30 minutes, each way, on their daily commute spells ample time for drowsy driving.
In addition to sleep deprivation being responsible for many traffic accidents, it is also believed that sleep deprivation can contribute to many health issues. Some studies have linked sleep deprivation to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Sleep deprivation has also been shown to contribute to obesity. If you are having problems sleeping, try to:
1. Go to bed at the same time every night;
2. Rise at the same time every morning;
3. Do not read in bed;
4. Do not watch TV in bed;
5. Do not eat a heavy meal before bed;
6. Do not drink caffeine before bed; and
7. Keep your bedroom dark at a comfortable temperature.
The Effects of Driving Drowsy
The effects of drowsy driving can be catastrophic. Oftentimes, the driver does any evasive action whatsoever because they are asleep. This can lead to head-on collisions with oncoming traffic, as well as single-car accidents in which the drowsy driver veers off the road and hits an immovable object such as a tree. The injuries associated with a car accident in which the driver fell asleep may be devastating and include:
- Traumatic brain injury and/or concussions;
- Spinal cord damage and/or paralysis;
- Fractured or broken bones; and
- Neck and back injuries.
Contact Jones Law Group
Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.
Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of a car, motorcycle, or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707