St. John’s Health System Supports Drowsy Driving Prevention Week to Help Curb Car Accidents in Missouri

St. John’s Health System Supports Drowsy Driving Prevention Week to Help Curb Car Accidents in Missouri

Drowsy drivers contribute to one out of every six fatal car accidents in St. Louis and elsewhere. To help prevent these types of accidents, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has joined forces with the National Sleep Foundation to help educate drivers with the new Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. This campaign has been taking place all this week and ends Saturday. During this time, the two organizations and other safe-driving advocates around the country have been sharing tips and giving information about preventing this dangerous driving habit.

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According to a recent study from AAA, about a third of drivers confessed to having driven while drowsy in the last month. This statistic is odd because more than 95 percent of surveyed drivers reported that they felt like this driving behavior was completely unacceptable. Maybe these drivers have a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, meaning maybe they expect other drivers to be cautious on the roadway. Perhaps these types of drivers feel indestructible on the road because their driving skills are “advanced.”

According to St. John’s Health System, drowsy driving contributes to more than 1,500 traffic fatalities every year. More than 70,000 people are injured in accidents with sleepy drivers. If you total it all up, drowsy drivers cause more than 100,000 vehicle accidents each year.

Our St. Louis car accident lawyers understand that while everyone is at risk for getting sleepy behind the wheel, there is one age group in particular that is most likely to experience fatigue while driving. Male drivers age 16 to 24 experience more of drowsy driving accidents that any other age group. Still, drowsy driving is causing too many serious accidents among all age groups.

“Many don’t realize that driving while drowsy is also very dangerous. If you’re so tired that you can hardly keep your eyes open, you could fall asleep for just a few seconds and not realize it,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation.

When drivers are sleepy behind the wheel, their driving abilities are hindered. Sleepiness can affect a driver’s reaction time, vision, judgment time and their ability to process information. As a matter of fact, a person who has been awake for 20 consecutive hours has the same reaction time as someone who is legally drunk.

Another side effect of being sleepy behind the wheel is that drivers can fall into small periods of micro-sleep. During this time, a driver can fall asleep for 3- or 4-second time frames without ever knowing it.

You may be driving drowsy if:

-You have difficulty focusing.

-You’re blinking excessively or rubbing your eyes.

-You yawn a lot.

-You keep daydreaming.

-You feel restless.

-You feel irritable.

-You’re missing your exit, turns or traffic signs.

-You’re swerving in and out of lanes.

-You can’t remember the last few miles driven.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you’re urged to pull over in a safe area and take a break from driving. Take a nap or get out and stretch, walk or run around. The most common and most dangerous mistake that a driver can make is attempting to power through any of these symptoms.

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident involving a drowsy driver, contact St. Louis Accident Attorney Ryan R. Cox to set up appointment for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 636-946-6886.
More Blog Entries:

National Teen Driver Safety Week and AAA Work to Reduce Risks of Teen Car Accidents in Missouri, Nation, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 24, 2011

Deer-Car Accident in St. Louis Risks Drastically Increase Through Remainder of Year, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 14, 2011

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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