The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently had 2,003 adults take its Sleep Prioritization Survey. Asked whether they had ever struggled to stay awake while driving, 45% answered in the affirmative. This is a startling statistic, but it backs up the fact that drowsy driving is, indeed, a public health concern in West Virginia and across the U.S.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that drowsy driving leads to around 328,000 motor vehicle crashes a year, 6,400 of which are fatal. Drowsy driving is always preventable, which is why drowsy drivers who cause a crash are usually held liable for the other side’s injuries and losses.
Prevention begins with a regular, healthy sleep schedule. Adults should sleep no less than seven hours each night. If they do and yet suffer from chronic, excessive fatigue, it may be due to a sleep disorder.
To address drowsiness on the road, motorists can take quite a few steps. On long trips, drivers should bring someone along for conversation and taking turns behind the wheel. They can consume caffeinated beverages for a short boost in attention. They should also be on the lookout for the signs of sleepiness, including frequent yawning, trouble keeping one’s head up, lane drifting and trouble remembering the last few exits one has passed.
As stated above, drowsy driving is negligent driving. Those who have been injured at the hands of a negligent driver in West Virginia can file a claim as long as they are less than 50% to blame. If they are partially to blame, the degree of fault will proportionally lower whatever amount they recover in damages. Therefore, ensuring a fair settlement is one good reason to consider hiring an attorney. Legal representation can often make negotiations go more smoothly.