Whether working long hours or staying out late with friends, getting enough sleep does not seem to be a high priority for many adult drivers in Texas. Driving while drowsy has become a serious problem in Texas, as we lead the country in the number of drowsy drivers nationwide. When looking at almost a decade of nationwide data, from 2010 – 2018, Texas is responsible for almost 24% of the deaths involving a driver who was drowsy. These deaths were completely preventable if the drivers had just gotten a few more hours of sleep.
Drowsy driving has claimed lives in every state over the past 10 years, with more of these crashes happening on state highways. Certain professions are more susceptible to driving drowsy, including commercial drivers, long-distance drivers, those who have diagnosed sleeping disorders, night shift workers, and senior drivers.
Warning signs that indicate a driver is too tired to drive include:
- Difficulty Focusing – If you find that your mind can’t focus on driving and that it is difficult to tell what is happening on the road ahead of you, you are likely too tired to drive.
- Daydreaming – When your mind wanders, you may not be able to pay attention to the road. If you find that you are daydreaming while driving, you may want to find a good place to stop and take a nap.
- Increased Frequency of Blinking – If you find you are blinking more often while driving, your body may be too tired to focus and drive. It only takes one blink lasting too long for a driver to fall asleep at the wheel.
- Repeated Yawning – Yawning is one of the most obvious signs of fatigue. If you are frequently yawning, it may be time to find a safe place to pull over and take a break from driving.
- Swerving on the Road – If you find that you are unable to control your vehicle, and you are swerving in and out of your lane on the road, you may be too tired to drive and should pull over.
Once you notice yourself displaying any of these signs, it is time to pull over and take a nap until you have enough energy to drive safely to your destination. If driving overnight and you need to stop, there are many roadside hotels and motels available to book so that you have a bed to sleep in for the night. Risking your life and the lives of other drivers just to arrive at a destination by a certain time is not worth it.
There are many ways to help prevent drowsy driving and to stay active while driving. Getting enough sleep, consistently, is the best way to start. Keep a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day. If your schedule or responsibilities do not allow for this, attempt to sleep for the same amount of time each night. A good rule of thumb is to get about eight hours of sleep each night to be well rested for the next day. When driving long distances, either for work or on a road trip, it is a great idea to have others drive with you. They can keep you awake by having a conversation, helping keep an eye on the road, and taking turns while driving. Another great idea is to listen to energetic music or an exciting podcast or audiobook while driving long distances.
Weslaco Car Accident Attorneys
If you sustain an injury in an accident that was caused by a drowsy driver, know that you are not alone. By selecting knowledgeable legal representation, you won’t have to worry as much about your next steps. Contact the South Texas car accident lawyers at Ezequiel Reyna, Jr. Law Office today to discuss your case. There is limited time to act following a motor vehicle accident in Texas, so don’t delay.