Tired driving is a bigger issue than most people realize. Sleepy drivers pose many risks that don't seem to be as talked about as drunk or distracted driving. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. These statistics include all Americans, even professional athletes. Recently, former University of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson drove his car into a pond.
Robinson, who is currently a National Football League (NFL) running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, drove into a pond while asleep at the wheel over the past 4th of July. According to NBC Sports, The Florida Times-Union reported that Robinson was found asleep behind the wheel of a car by police responding to reports about a car crashing into a pond early on Sunday morning. Luckily, neither Robinson nor his passenger were hurt. According to the report, Robinson was screened by two officers and found not to be intoxicated. In a post to Twitter, Robinson indicated that he fell asleep at the wheel.
“I just wanted to let everyone know that I was involved in a single-car accident on Saturday night, and thankfully, everyone was safe and remained unharmed,” Robinson said. “I thank God every single day for the opportunities he has presented me with and I’m grateful every morning to wake up healthy. I should not have been driving that late or when I was that tired, but again, I’m just glad that everyone was safe. God Bless."
In this scenario, Denard Robinson knew he was tired but felt as though he could continue driving without danger. The problem is that many people cannot tell if or when they are about to fall asleep. Others may believe that if they pinch themselves or drink coffee, that they will not fall asleep. Many others shrug it off and attempt to drive anyway if sleepiness comes on while driving. What these people don’t realize, however, is that when you are tired, or even just a little bit drowsy, you are putting yourself and others in danger.
When To Stop And Rest
Here are some signs provided by the National Sleep Foundation that when experienced should tell a driver to stop and rest:
• Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
• Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
• Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
• Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
• Trouble keeping your head up
• Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
• Feeling restless and irritable
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers (aged 18 years or older) report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. However, these numbers are underestimated and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.
It is important for people to realize that no matter how much of a rush they are in, that if they are tired in any way, that they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. When taking long road trip, drivers should periodically stop, rest, and refuel as often as possible. It would even be beneficial to take long road trips with at least one other driver, so that each driver will be able to rest and take turns. Most importantly, if a driver become tired during a drive, they should immediately pull over and stop driving until they are 100% awake and energized. By following these steps and by being able to recognize tired driving, thousands of people will be able to avoid being involved in motor vehicle collisions.
Have you or anyone you know been injured by a driver that was driving tired or asleep at the wheel? If so, call The Michigan Law Firm today. Our attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents including those involving tired drivers. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.