Indiana State Police have seen it more than they want to remember– drivers asleep at the wheel and the resulting tragic consequences. That’s one of the reasons local officials have joined the efforts of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the National Sleep Foundation to support Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. This campaign has been ongoing all this week, and is being used to raise awareness among drivers about the dangers of drowsy driving.
Drowsy driving-related car accidents in Highland and elsewhere nationwide kill more than 1,500 people and injure another 71,000 every year. Drowsy drivers cause more than 100,000 accidents each year. These sleepy traffic accidents cost nearly $13 billion a year.
“People should use common sense if they’re feeling tired,” said Sgt. Bill Redman, St. Joseph County police spokesman. “You’re putting you and others at risk.”
Our Indiana car accident attorneys understand how dangerous drowsy driving can be. Many drivers underestimate the dangers of this behavior. According to a recent study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about a third of drivers admitted to engaging in drowsy driving at least once in the last month. This number is alarming because more that 95 percent of those surveyed said that this driving behavior was completely unacceptable. Too many drivers believe that they can just push through the sleepiness behind the wheel and they couldn’t be more wrong.
A person who has been awake for 20 hours straight has the same reaction abilities as someone who is legally drunk, with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08, according to WSBT.
“That driving behavior mimics someone drinking and driving,” said Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Trent Smith.
Indiana has experienced more than 4,600 drowsy driving-related accidents in the last year. These accidents have resulted in nearly 1,500 injuries and nearly 30 deaths.
According to Smith, these accidents most commonly happen when drivers travel too many miles without getting enough sleep. He says the accidents are oftentimes seen on highways, like the Indiana Toll Road.
Symptoms of drowsiness at the wheel:
-Trouble keeping your eyes open.
-Swerving your vehicle in and out of your lane.
-Trouble keeping your head up.
-Missing road signs and street lights.
-Having difficult remembering the last couple of miles you drove.
If you notice any of these symptoms while driving, you’re urged to pull over and take a break. One of the biggest mistakes that a driver can make is trying to power through the sleepiness. When you do this, you’re setting yourself up for microsleep, which is 3 to 4 second time periods when you actually fall asleep behind the wheel.
Remember to get plenty of rest before heading out on a long road trip, to stop and rest every 2 hours or every 100 miles, drive with a passenger when feasible, and know when to pull over and take a break.
“Drowsy driving is a major traffic safety problem that, unfortunately, is largely unrecognized,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident with a drowsy driver, call Burton Padove for a free consultation to learn about how to ensure receipt for financial compensation for injuries you or others sustain. Call 219-836-2200 or toll-free for nationwide callers at 877-446-5294.
More Blog Entries:
Transportation Departments Prepare for Winter Weather and Risks for Car Accidents in Indiana, Indiana Injury And Family Lawyer Blog, November 8, 2011
Seven Killed in Trucking Accident on Indiana Toll Road, Indiana Injury And Family Lawyer Blog, November 3, 2011