Drowsy Driving is a Problem on Canadian Roads

Not long ago, British polling company YouGov asked more than 4,300 adults in three countries about their ideas about sleep. The survey, which was conducted on behalf of sleep and meditation app Calm, uncovered one fact that will be of particular interest to car accident lawyers.

Fifty per cent of respondents believed lowering the car windows and turning up the air conditioning are effective measures against drowsy driving, according to the Globe and Mail. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and it’s just the most recent evidence that driving-age adults underestimate the dangers of drowsy driving.

A 2007 study by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that 20 per cent of drivers had fallen asleep behind the wheel. In 2013, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that roughly 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths were caused by drowsy driving each year in the United States.

In other words, drowsy driving is a major safety issue on North American roads. Shift workers, people with sleep disorders, and people on new medication are particularly at risk of drowsy driving, but the issue is essentially a societal problem. Too many people work too many hours and have commutes that are simply too long – and the result is major motor vehicle collisions.

Warning Signs and Prevention Tips

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident involving drowsy driving, our car accident lawyers may be able to help. But by planning ahead and taking a few simple precautions, drivers can avoid the worst impacts of drowsy driving. Some effective preventative measures include:

  • Getting a full night’s sleep, particularly ahead of long drives
  • Avoid driving late at night
  • Avoid driving alone and share driving responsibilities on long trips
  • Get a ride home or use a taxi or ride-sharing service after late-night shifts
  • If you find yourself becoming drowsy while driving, pull over for a break or a nap

Some of the warning signs of drowsy driving include:

  • Repeated yawning
  • Inability to keep eyes open
  • Nodding off behind the wheel
  • Inability to remember the last few kilometres
  • Inadvertently moving too close to nearby cars
  • Drifting between lanes or onto the shoulder of the road
  • Missing turns, exits, or road signs

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a serious car accident, contact Will Davidson LLP to learn how our experienced team of car accident lawyers can help. Our team will assess the viability of your claim, outline your options, and provide advice and guidance as you consider a personal injury or accident benefits claim.

Image credit: Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious/Flickr

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