With so much attention on the dangers of distracted driving, many drivers in Allegheny County forget how risky driving sleep deprived is. For example, recently, an accident on Pennsylvania's Interstate 78 killed a man, says the Hackettstown Patch. The man who caused this accident was a truck driver who admittedly fell asleep behind the wheel.
Following the deadly crash, the truck driver was interviewed and stated that he had felt sleepy and started nodding off about half an hour before he reached the toll plaza. To combat his drowsiness, he also admitted that he had been turning up the radio and opening the windows in order to stay awake. At the toll plaza, the truck driver ran into another vehicle and the other driver died from burns and smoke inhalation shortly thereafter.
The dangers of drowsy driving
Unfortunately, this drowsy driving accident is not unique. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is the cause of more than 100,000 crashes, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths on an annual basis. Although these figures are high, it is suspected that these numbers should be elevated because many drowsy driving accidents go unreported.
Not only does drowsy driving cause a large number of car accidents, but data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that many drivers operate a vehicle excessively fatigued. According to the collected data, approximately 28 percent of drivers reported that they had trouble keeping their eyes open while driving during the previous month. In addition to this, young drivers also were at a higher risk for driving fatigued. For drivers ages 19 to 24, approximately 33 percent stated that they had problems staying awake behind the wheel while driving during the past 30 days.
Tips for staying awake behind the wheel
For many drivers, staying awake while driving is an issue. However, drivers can take several precautionary measures to reduce the risk of causing a drowsy driving accident. Drivers should:
- Never drive while feeling sleepy. If you notice that you can't keep your eyes open, pull over to a safe location and take a nap.
- Get enough sleep before taking a long trip. According to AAA, sleeping for less than six hours increases your chances of falling asleep and anything less than four hours is highly dangerous.
- Travel with a passenger that can keep them awake.
- Schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to get out of the car and walk around.
Unfortunately, not every driver is aware of these guidelines or even realizes that drowsy driving is a risk to others on the road with them. If you were involved in a car accident due to the fault of another driver, speak with an attorney to determine what legal actions you should take next.