The Dangers of Driving While Tired in Pennsylvania

September 16, 2020

The National Safety Council (NSC) states very bluntly: “Drowsy driving is impaired driving.” According to the National Sleep Foundation, roughly half of U.S. adult drivers admit to getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy on a consistent basis. About 20% of U.S. adult drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year, and more than 40% of U.S. adult drivers admit this has happened at least once in their driving careers.

These statistics are alarming, to say the least. They show just how prevalent fatigued driving is. What drivers may not realize is the extent to which fatigued driving puts themselves and others at risk. Thousands of people die every year from fatigued driving, and the sad part is, it’s easily preventable if drivers would simply become aware, instead of assuming, “it won’t happen to me. I feel fine.” 

If you have been involved in an accident involving fatigued driving in Pennsylvania, let an Allentown car accident lawyer help.

The Impact of Fatigue on One’s Ability to Drive

Fatigued driving is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol:

  • Reaction times, hazard awareness, and the ability to sustain attention are all drastically reduced when a driver is fatigued.
  • Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is the legal limit in most states.
  • Drivers are three times more likely to be in a car crash if they are fatigued.

Drivers may not even know when they are fatigued because the signs of fatigue are hard to identify. Some people experience what is known as micro-sleep: short, involuntary periods of inattention. In the four or five seconds a driver experiences micro-sleep, a vehicle will travel 100 yards – the length of a football field – at highway speed.

Causes of Fatigued Driving

The primary causes of fatigued driving are commonplace and predictable:

  • Lack of quality sleep.
  • Driving when you would normally be sleeping, i.e., at night.
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea, a sleeping condition that causes tiredness throughout the day.

Above all else, remember that you can’t fight sleep. The only cure for lack of sleep is sleep itself.

How to Avoid Driver Fatigue

Again, the only way to prevent fatigue is to sleep. Your best bet by far is to choose not to drive when you are tired. Aside from that, follow these simple guidelines to help prevent fatigue:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before driving long distances.
  • Take regular breaks; at least every two hours.
  • Don’t travel for more than eight to ten hours a day.
  • Share the driving wherever possible, and let your passenger sleep while you drive.
  • Avoid driving at night.
  • Take a 15-minute power nap in a safe location along your route if you feel yourself becoming drowsy.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before your trip. Even small amounts can significantly contribute to driver fatigue.

Contact an Allentown Car Accident Lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis for Assistance

Driving when you are tired is very tempting and very dangerous, similar in most ways to driving under the influence. If you have been involved in an accident, an Allentown car accident attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis can help. Contact us for further information and to schedule your free consultation.