Friday, February 3, 2012

Real-life Dangers of Drowsy Driving

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Falling asleep while driving could cause fatal car accidents. Take the case of Michael Cedarland, a sheriff deputy who fatally struck an ex-marine in the Starbucks coffee shop at Fillmore, California. According to an online report, Cedarland plowed his SUV through the coffee shop, killing an Iraq war veteran named Sergio Mendez. Police investigation stated that Cederland fell asleep while driving his vehicle thus causing the fatal accident.

Unfortunately, the news story about Cedarland and Mendez is not that uncommon around the country. Drowsy driving is a serious threat to many motorists in the United States. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 100,000 automobile accidents are caused by fatigue and drowsy driving each year. Furthermore, according to the same agency, sleepy driving is responsible for at least 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries annually.

Common Victims of Sleepy Driving
According to a 2002 study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, people who are at the most risk of experiencing drowsy/fatigue driving accidents includes:

•    Drivers who are aged 18 to 29
•    Men who are more likely to drive while sleepy as compared to women (56 percent VS 45 percent)
•    Adults with children in the household are more likely to feel fatigue when operating vehicles
•    Employees who are working at night are more to feel sleepy when driving than daytime employees

Symptoms of Drowsy Driving

Drivers must learn beforehand the early signs of sleepy driving in order for them when to pullover and take a quick nap. The following are the common symptoms of drowsy driving:
•    Having heavy eyelids and losing focus on the traffic situation
•    Excessive yawning and blinking
•    Involuntarily changing lanes
•    Feeling restless and irritable

Tips on How to Avoid Driving Sleepy

If you believe that, you are susceptible to drowsy driving, it would be best to follow these tips:

•    Get some good sleep – Studies suggest that a person needs to have at least seven hours of sleep to have the energy that the body needs for the rest of the day.

•    Do not drive under the influence – Alcohol can impair a driver’s skills and performance and may also cause fatigue and drowsiness.

•    Pullover occasionally – If you are driving for a long trip, it is advised to pullover every two hours.

In California, when a person is injured due to a sleepy driver’s negligent action, he has the right to claim for injury compensations. Any good Los Angeles attorney would suggest that accident victims must assert for personal injury claim against the liable party in order for him to receive proper amount of monetary damages.


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