Categorized | Opinion

Drowsy Driving

By David Peel

David PeelAccidents that are caused by drowsy driving are quite similar in evidence to those caused by drunken driving:
-No skid marks or evidence of braking;
-No evidence of evasion or swerving;
This is sometimes also what we find in texting and driving crashes as well.  Why do we have more drowsy driving car accidents?
-More people are sleep-deprived these days.  With the unusual work schedules now common at places like FedEx, the airlines, fire departments, and others, there are more people working at night than there once were.  Workers who have shifts at night have to fight the natural urge to stay awake during the day and sleep at dark. It takes time to get that reversed, so shift variations actually tend to hurt rather than help.
-School demands study time that usually winds up being at night. Many of us pulled all-nighters while in college or graduate school, only to find out that our performance actually suffered. Still, students like me who often worked and went to school were sleep-deprived for long periods.
-The faltering economy continues to create less jobs and more people have to work two jobs just to get by.  As a result, irregular work hours can create a tiredness that is hard to fight while driving.
-Commutes continue to lengthen. We have come a long way from the European standard of the shopkeeper working downstairs and living upstairs in one building. Currently, work is often a 30-45 minute drive away from home. That is plenty of time to get drowsy.
-Car comforts continue to expand. When I drive my old 1977 Ford pick up truck, it is a loud, windy and vibration-filled experience, even at modest speeds. In my modern vehicles, however, even at interstate speeds, vehicles are warm, smooth and comfortable. This tends to call on the Sandman much swifter than our old beaters would ever allow.
But, technology in some of the newest cars is trying to rescue us from ourselves. For now, it is luxury manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz that offer ways to wake you if your head bobs downward or you leave a traffic lane. Lane departure warnings are even now present in the Suburban models.
Driving drowsy is every bit as dangerous as driving drunk. Don’t take the risk.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through wherein other articles may be accessed.
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April 2015
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