Why sleepy drivers are so dangerous

Drowsy driving is a national crisis. In a 2005 study, 37 percent of adult drivers admitted falling asleep behind the wheel at least once; 13 percent said it happened to them at least once a month.

That represents millions of people dozing on America’s roads and highways every year. Many of them are on Interstate 40, here in Arkansas. Fatigued drivers put everyone in danger of a catastrophic car accident and, as a result, permanent disability or death.

Signs someone is too tired to drive

Though doctors routinely warn us that getting enough sleep is a big necessity, many people are chronically fatigued. They get up in the morning after just a few hours of sleep and drag themselves through their commute to work. Common signs that a motorist is too tired to drive include:

  • Difficulty keeping their eyelids open
  • Poor concentration
  • Nodding head
  • Drifting in and out of their lane
  • Missing turns or exits, or forgetting the last few miles
  • Restlessness and irritability

Any of these symptoms reduce a driver’s ability to navigate the road alertly. No matter how carefully you are driving, you may not be able to avoid a terrible wreck with a tired or dozing driver.

Trucking and fatigued driving

Commercial truck drivers are especially susceptible to fatigued driving, often because of long hours on the road and pressure from their employers to complete deliveries as fast as possible. Despite federal regulations regarding work-hour limits for truckers, sleepy truck drivers causes several horrific crashes every year.

Because a semi truck is so large and heavy, any collision with one is more likely to cause catastrophic injury or death. If the trucker’s employer contributed indirectly to the crash, such as by hiring the driver despite their lack of ability, the company could be partially at fault for the collision.

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