Distracted driving is on the rise in California. While smartphones get the most blame, texting and or talking on the phone while driving is not the only reason drivers cause accidents because they are not paying full attention to the road. In fact, driving while tired can be a huge cause of car accidents in California. Tired drivers often have a slower reaction time and therefore end up causing fender benders, multi-car crashes, and more; leaving innocent victims hurt.
A recent study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that in the past month, 1 in 4 motorists reported were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open while driving. Motorists aged 19 to 24 were most likely to report driving dangerously drowsy (at 33%) while drivers ages 75 and above and 16 to 18 were the least likely to report having done so in the previous month (at 22 % each group). While the good news is, at least according to the study, 95% of drivers believe it is somewhat or completely unacceptable to drive when they are so tired that it is difficult to keep their eyes open, this does not mean that they all practice what the preach. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by a distracted driver, including one who was too tired to be driving, contact an experienced car accident lawyer today.
Another study conducted by the AAA Foundation showed that 17% of fatal car crashes, 13% of crashes resulting in hospitalization and 7% of all auto accidents requiring a tow involved a drowsy driver. If you are just the littlest bit tired, consider resting before you hit the road or pulling over before you finish your driver.
Here are a few warning signs for drivers to tell if they are sleepy or drowsy:
- The inability to recall the last few miles traveled.
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open.
- Feeling that your eyelids or head are very heavy.
- Drifting out of your driving lane or driving on the rumble strips.
- Repeatedly yawning.
- Missing traffic signs or running red lights.
With holiday parties and long drives to see family just around the corner, it is important to remember the following tips to ensure that you are not drowsy while driving:
- Don’t eat a heavy meal before you start a long drive.
- Take a rest break every two hours or every 100 miles.
- Travel with an alert passenger.
- Take turns driving with another alert driver.
- Avoid foods or medications that can cause drowsiness.
While caffeine can help you stay alert and awake temporarily, don’t count on caffeinated beverages to keep you awake. It is best to hit the road when you are rested and prepared for the trip ahead of you.