Driving along the roads and highways of a large state like California may be a tedious and time-consuming task. Most of us are impatient when we drive, anxious to arrive as soon as possible. Yet, to ensure that we arrive at our destinations safely, we have to consider that our bodies require sleep. Rest allows the time to repair and rejuvenate the human body to optimize alertness and tackle the challenges of long drives on long roads. Drowsy or tired driving may be correlated directly to motor vehicle accidents that may cause injury to drivers, passengers, and those with whom we share the road.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 1 in 25 adult drivers age 18 or older, reported falling asleep at the wheel in the previous 30 days. This is an alarming statistic that demonstrates the high number of drivers who may potentially cause a motor vehicle accident because they are tired or drowsy.
And especially of concern to anyone who traverses the nation’s roads and highways is that tired or drowsy drivers not only endanger themselves but also endanger their passengers and other motorists. In 2017, 795 lives were lost because of drivers who were drowsy and required rest. These accidents could have been prevented if the drivers had considered any need for sleep and measured how alert and awake they were before starting their road journeys.
The presence of the following, especially in combination, indicate that a driver is tired or more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident. The signs of drowsy driving include:
- Drifting from lane to lane
- Frequent blinking or longer blinks
- Head nodding
- Heavy eyelids
- Reduced focus
- Slower reaction time
- Compromised ability to make decisions
Drivers must be alert to the aforementioned signs when they drive. Passengers should be alert to any signs that the person operating the vehicle is falling asleep or too tired to drive. It is important to be alert for other vehicles haphazardly changing lanes, swerving, driving in the wrong direction, or showing other indications of drowsy driving. Any time this type of driving is observed, it must be reported to law enforcement. Someone’s life may depend on it.
Drivers should always evaluate how they are feeling before getting behind the wheel of any motor vehicle at any time for any length trip. There is no effective way of taking shortcuts to avoid the time necessary to rest the human body and sleep. The recommendation from the National Sleep Foundation is 7-9 hours per night for adults. Getting insufficient sleep will result in drivers experiencing the signs of drowsy driving. What comes next is up to them.
Any resident of the Central Valley who has suffered a major loss from accident, theft, fire, or some other calamity, may depend on Maison Law for the highest level of legal service in the Fresno and Visalia areas. Maison Law is located on W. Main Street in Visalia, about 50 minutes from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT). Pick up the phone (24 hours a day, 7 days a week and speak with a Maison Law representative. Our Central Valley personal injury attorney is here to help you! Call Maison Law at (559) 203-3333.