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New Haven, Connecticut | Weber & Rubano Law Firm

Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports nearly 700 deaths due to drowsy driving occurred in 2022. Commercial truck drivers, second and third-shift workers, and road trip travelers face the highest risks of drowsy driving, but becoming fatigued and dozing off behind the wheel can occur to anyone at any time. Studies show that drowsy drivers face some of the same symptoms and risks as drunk drivers, such as reduced reaction times, vision problems, and impaired cognitive ability, yet drowsy driving is not a crime and is difficult to prove in an accident claim for damages like medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering.

Becoming the victim of a drowsy driver is a frightening and painful experience, but causing an accident due to your own drowsy driving is also traumatic and leaves you liable for damages. It’s important to know the signs of drowsiness behind the wheel and the best tips to avoid causing an accident.

Recognizing the Signs of Becoming Too Drowsy to Drive

It’s common to drive while tired in today’s busy world, but how do you know when tiredness crosses the line into fatigue, drowsiness, and a risk of falling asleep behind the wheel? The common signs of drowsy driving below may approach gradually or may come on all at once: 

  • Blurred or double vision
  • The urge to rub the eyes
  • Frequent yawning
  • Inability to recall the last few miles driven or whether or not you stopped at intersections
  • Nodding off or having difficulty keeping your head up
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Deep or wandering thoughts that become dream-like
  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Frequent slowing down and accelerating
  • Finding yourself following a vehicle in front of you too closely
  • Increased blinking

If you notice any or all of the above signs of drowsy driving it’s time to find a safe place to remove yourself from the road as quickly as possible. Your life and the lives of others are at risk.

Getting Adequate Sleep

The average adult requires seven to nine hours of sleep every 24 hours to function at their best. If you do not get adequate sleep due to lifestyle, sleep apnea, or other sleep problems, it’s important to address the issue by speaking to a doctor and making necessary changes. If you continue to experience sleep disturbances and inadequate sleep, choose only your most alert times of day to drive and use rideshare or public transportation during high-risk drowsiness hours.

Avoiding Peak Drowsiness Periods

Avoid driving during your body’s peak sleeping hours, typically between midnight and 6:00 AM for most people. If you must drive during these hours, take frequent breaks, drink caffeinated beverages, and listen to energizing music or absorbing podcasts to increase alertness.

Check Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications Before You Drive

If you’re taking any medications, read the package inserts carefully to ensure that you aren’t taking something that causes drowsiness or otherwise impacts driving ability. If your medications may cause drowsiness, use public transportation or rideshare apps, or rely on friends and family members for safe transportation.

Recognize and React to the Signs of Drowsiness While Driving

The most important safety tip to avoid drowsy driving is to recognize the signs of drowsiness and remove yourself from the road as soon as safely possible. Failing to do so not only places you and others at risk, but also leaves you liable for damages like medical expenses, lost income, and the pain and suffering of accident victims.

How Can a Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer Help My Case?

If you’ve suffered injuries with significant economic and non-economic damages and suspect the other driver was drowsy or dozing behind the wheel, you need skilled representation to prove their liability for your damages. The experienced car accident attorneys at Weber & Rubano are ready to help you navigate this challenging type of car accident claim and maximize the compensation available to you. Call our New Haven car accident attorneys today for a free consultation so we can begin a strong strategy in your case.