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Broward Traffic Safety Watch: Tired Drivers an Autumn Risk

You might think our days are getting shorter. We continuously try to cram everything into one day and oftentimes wear ourselves down in the process. Students are spending their waking hours in class, in the library and studying. Adults are spending their days working, caring for children and maintaining a household.
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Autumn’s early darkness compounds the risks. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), drowsy driving accidents cause roughly 1,500 fatalities and another 71,000 injuries each year. Just like drunk driving, drowsiness affects your abilities to make responsible decisions behind the wheel and navigate our roadways safely.

Our Pembroke Pines injury lawyers understand that many drivers think that they can fight through the symptoms of drowsiness behind the wheel. And there’s nothing that could be more dangerous. That’s why the first week of September has been designated as “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.” According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, well over half of Americans say that they’ve driven while feeling sleepy, and more than 35 percent admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel within the last year.

“Keeping motorist safe on our roadways is our top priority at the Florida Department of Transportation. We encourage drivers to be fully alert and never drive drowsy,” said Ananth Prasad, DHSMV Director.

Unfortunately, many people cannot tell if or when they are about to fall asleep. And if sleepiness comes on while driving, many say to themselves, “I can handle this, I’ll be fine.” Yet they’re putting themselves and others in danger.

Signs of drowsiness behind the wheel:

-Having a difficult time focusing on the road.

-Frequent blinking.

-Heavy eyelids.

-Having trouble remembering the last few miles you drove.

-Missing exits or street signs.

-Having a tough time keeping your head up.

-Drifting off the road.

-Tailgating.

-Experiencing a feeling or irritability or restlessness.

Before hitting the road:

-Make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Your best bet is to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.

-Make sure that you schedule in rest stops. You should be stopping and taking a break from driving every 100 miles or at least once every 2 hours.

-Consider traveling with a passenger. Switching driving roles with a friend/family member will help to keep the one in the driver’s seat aware and awake.

-Do not take any sedating medications or drink alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel. Both of these can have a seriously negative affect on your driving abilities.

If you’re feeling drowsy behind the wheel, it’s imperative for you to pull over in a safe area and stop. Fighting through these symptoms will increase your risks for an accident. If you can, avoid driving overnight, during mid-afternoon or when you would normally be sleeping. This especially goes for males under the age of 25. They’re the ones who are most likely to get into drowsy driving car accidents.

Stay awake, stay alert and arrive alive.

If you or someone you love was injured, contact Freeman Injury Law at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Teenagers and the Pressures of Underage Drinking, , Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 29, 2013 z

Curbing Road Rage and Tractor-Trailer Accident Fatalities, , Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 23, 2013

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