Like many motorists, you may think little of getting behind the wheel after sleeping for only a few hours. With the help of coffee, you might believe you are alert enough to operate your vehicle safely. Yet, drowsy driving causes around 100,000 collisions each year, though many officials believe this figure is low. Regardless, these accidents put the lives and livelihoods of countless people at risk.

The factors behind drowsiness

Drowsy driving usually stems from insufficient sleep. While most adults need at least seven hours each night, many people live connected, on-the-go lifestyles that allow little time for rest. Without adequate sleep, your likelihood of causing an auto accident increases threefold.

Prescription medications can also contribute to drowsy driving. If you take any, you will want to make sure you review their side effects before hitting the road. And driving during the late afternoon and nighttime increases your accident risk as well. Your circadian rhythms dip during these times, and you may find yourself sleepier than at other parts of the day.

Signs of drowsiness

If you tend to function on little sleep, drowsiness may feel like a normal state for you. Yet, it can affect your alertness and responsiveness, even if you think you feel fine. Signs you may be drowsy include:

  • Dozing off at the wheel or having trouble keeping your eyes open
  • Yawning frequently
  • Drifting between lanes or over the road’s center line
  • Failing to maintain your speed

If you notice symptoms of drowsiness, you will want to pull off the road if you are driving. Doing so could make the difference between causing a collision and preventing one.

By understanding the dangers of drowsy driving, you can do your part to make the roads safer. Yet, many motorists will still try to power through their fatigue, putting you – and others – at risk. If a drowsy driver injures you in an accident, an attorney can help you understand your options for holding them accountable.