07.24.2012

Drowsy driving might halt vacation plans

Vacation travel is in full swing, and many travelers are trying to drive long distances in as little time as possible. Their goal might be more time on the beach, but they might never arrive at their destination if they drive drowsy.

Even during non-vacation time, the statistics are alarming. According to the AAA Foundation, one in six deadly car crashes involves a drowsy driver. The National Sleep Foundation reports that about one in 10 drivers, aged 16-45, drive drowsy once or twice a week.

“People know they shouldn’t text or drink when they drive, and that’s great,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “However, many don’t realize that driving while drowsy is also very dangerous.”

Cloud said sleepiness can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information. He added that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the legal limit in all states for drunk driving.

Pull over

It is important to find a safe place to pull over if you are driving and are experiencing any of the following warning signs:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty keeping reveries or daydreams at bay
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
  • Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
  • Missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive

Be ready for the road

Follow the steps below to prevent drowsy driving:

  • Get a good night’s sleep (seven to nine hours) before you hit the road.
  • Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination. Stop for breaks, and even naps, when necessary.
  • Use the buddy system. Don’t drive alone for long distances.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness.
  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
  • Consume caffeine. Two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.

For more information about drowsy driving, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s drowsy driving website at www.DrowsyDriving.org.

If you have any additional questions regarding drowsy driving, one of our knowledgeable PA personal injury attorneys at Powell Law will be happy to help you. Since 1906, our PA personal injury lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients in serious personal injury cases, including PA car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, PA medical malpractice, PA worker’s comp, slip and fall, product-related injuries and Social Security disability claims. Our PA criminal defense attorneys represent defendants in all types of summary, misdemeanor and felony cases ranging from drunk driving cases to major crimes in both state and federal courts.

Powell Law is Northeastern Pennsylvania’s oldest PA personal injury law firm. It was established by our grandfather, Attorney James J. Powell Sr., on the principles of honor, integrity and trust. For three generations, we have upheld those principles every day – in every case.

We have offices in Scranton, Stroudsburg, Taylor and Moscow. Call us toll free at 800-290-7707.

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