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Don't Let a Drowsy Driving Accident Ruin Your Holiday

Last week we discussed the dangers of impaired driving during the holidays, but did you know that drowsy driving could be just as dangerous?

Studies have found that drowsy driving dramatically increases your risk of a car accident by up to 50 percent. Sleepiness leads to crashes because it impairs the elements of human performance that are critical to safe driving, including reaction time, vigilance, and information processing.

The warning signs of drowsiness can include:

  • Having trouble keeping your eyes open and focused, and/or feeling like your eyelids are getting heavy
  • Frequent yawning and rubbing of eyes
  • Difficulty keeping your head up
  • Drifting out of your lane, swerving, following too closely and/or contacting rumble strips
  • Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
  • Missing traffic signs or driving past your intended exit
  • Irritability or feelings of restlessness

Preventing a Drowsy Driving Crash

Even though many drivers understand the risks, an AAA Foundation survey found that that one in three people reported driving while tired in the last 30-day period. The hectic holiday season can also impact our ability to get a good night sleep. Drivers may also travel early in the morning or late at night—times when they would normally be sleeping—in order to beat the traffic or get a head start on holiday travels.

To remain alert, AAA offers the following tips:

  • Get plenty of sleep the night before a long trip.
  • Stop driving if you become sleepy; someone who is tired could fall asleep at any time. Fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment, and vision, causing people who are very sleepy to behave in similar way to those who are drunk.
  • Travel at a time when you are normally awake, and stay overnight rather than driving straight through.
  • Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles.
  • Drink a caffeinated beverage. Since it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream, find a safe place to take a rest while you're waiting for the caffeine to take effect.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a San Diego car accident involving a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation. We encourage you to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.