AAA Study Shows Large Numbers Of People Drive Drowsy

The results of a study by AAA showed that many people have driven drowsy at some point. Thousands of accidents are caused by drowsy driving each year.

The middle of the holiday season is one of the prime times of the year for car accidents across the United States. With many people traveling to other cities and out of state to visit relatives, chances are that Oregon residents will encounter drowsy drivers, or get behind the wheel fatigued themselves.

Drowsy driving is a problem that often takes the backseat when compared to other driving safety issues, such as drunk driving and driving while distracted. However, taking the wheel while sleep-deprived should not be dismissed lightly. According to the National Safety Foundation, about 100,000 motor vehicle crashes occur each year as a result of fatigued drivers. When tired enough, a person can fall asleep in any traffic situation. The types of roads often traveled on during holiday road trips, however, may contribute a great deal to drowsiness - long, featureless rural roadways can create a recipe for sleepy driving.

Survey shows how many people drive drowsy

The results of a recent survey by AAA help to shed more light onto the prevalence of drowsy driving in America. CBS News reported that in the survey, more than 43 percent of the 2,500 people polled admitted to have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving at least once in their lifetimes. About 10 percent of them said this happened during the past year.

Each year, stated the AAA study, there are approximately 6,400 fatal accidents attributed to drowsy driving. Those most at risk of being injured or killed in accidents involving fatigue include commercial drivers, younger drivers, those who work late or night shifts and people who have untreated sleep disorders. Drivers who don't get enough sleep or use medications that cause sleepiness are also at risk.

Preventing driving while fatigued

Drivers should take precautions to reduce the chances of falling asleep at the wheel and harming themselves or others. In addition to getting a good night's sleep before a trip, some of the most effective ways to avoid drowsy driving include the following:

• Don't sacrifice sleep in order to leave earlier.

• Stop every two hours or 100 miles to get out and walk around a bit to stay alert.

• Pull over in a safe spot for a nap.

• Bring a passenger to talk with and switch places driving, if possible.

• Have some caffeine - but remember that a cup of coffee won't substitute for adequate sleep.

Oregon residents who are injured by drowsy drivers have the right to pursue compensation. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.