California drivers use ineffective strategies to combat drowsy driving

A new study reveals that many drivers rely on ineffective tactics, like listening to loud music or opening a window, to stay awake behind the wheel.

When drivers in California get behind the wheel of a vehicle in a fatigued state, they put the lives of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately two percent of injurious vehicular accidents and about 2.5 percent of fatal accidents involve drowsy driving.

Although fatigue threatens a driver's ability to operate a vehicle safely, a new survey, conducted by the automotive marketing company DMEautomotive, reveals that many drivers use ineffective strategies to overcome the effects of fatigue. Of the nearly 2,000 drivers surveyed, 42 percent of respondents reported that they open a window or the sun roof in their car and 35 percent of participants said that they pull their vehicle over to exercise and stretch to stay awake. Additionally, 25 percent of participants said that they turn up their air conditioning and 35 percent listen to loud music in order to remain alert.

Sleeping is the best solution

This survey also discovered that only 23 percent of the participants pull over and take a nap when they start to feel tired as they drive and 53 percent of respondents reported that they consume a caffeinated beverage to help them stay awake. According to USA Today, caffeine can be a temporary drowsy-driving fighter, but it takes about 30 minutes to enter the bloodstream.

Instead of relying on caffeine or the music on the radio to help them stay awake, one effective solution drivers can use to combat drowsy driving is to take a nap. Scientific research has proven that drivers who feel tired can overcome the effects of fatigue by sleeping for 30 minutes and then drinking two cups of strong coffee.

How does fatigue affect a driver's ability to operate a vehicle?

Even if drivers don't completely fall asleep behind the wheel, drowsiness can still put drivers at risk for causing an accident that results in high medical bills and extreme pain and suffering for those involved. The CDC states that drivers who are fatigued:

  • Are less attentive to what is going on around them
  • Compromise their abilities to make decisions
  • Have slower reaction times to situations they encounter while driving

During periods of fatigue, drivers may also experience "microsleeps." According to ABC News, these occur when a driver accidentally falls asleep for a few seconds without being aware of it.

Seeking compensation

Drivers in California who are involved in a drowsy-driving collision caused by a negligent driver may be eligible to receive compensation to cover their medical bills, lost wages and other expenses related to the collision. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, consult with an attorney to find out what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: drowsy, driving, accident, injury