Driving drowsy is unsafe, yet nearly one-third of respondents in a recent AAA survey admitted to doing so within the previous month. Their drowsiness, they said, was so bad that they could barely keep their eyes open. The National Sleep Foundation has compared the effects of sleep deprivation to alcohol intoxication. Being awake for 24 hours is like having a blood alcohol content of .10, which is above the .08 legal limit.
The following are some safety tips that drivers can consider. First of all, the CDC recommends at least seven hours of sleep every night. Those who get this amount but still drive drowsy may have a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. Second, prescription and over-the-counter drugs like sleep aids, antihistamines, antidepressants and muscle relaxers are known to induce drowsiness. If necessary, a doctor could adjust the regimen so as to avert drowsy driving.
Drivers who must go out even when they feel a little drowsy should bring a companion along if possible. Conversation can keep one awake as will 150 milligrams of caffeine. However, loud music and open windows do not help. During long trips, drivers should take a break every two hours. If one notices that they are drifting out of their lane or cannot remember the last few miles, they could pull over to a safe area for a nap.
Failing to do anything about drowsiness will heighten the risk for a car crash. Someone who is hurt through the actions of a drowsy driver can file a claim against that driver's auto insurance company. However, it is generally best to hire a lawyer beforehand. Legal counsel can handle all settlement negotiations.