Understanding the serious nature of drowsy driving in New Mexico

When people who are drowsy decide to operate a vehicle, they increase the likelihood of an accident in multiple ways.

Each day, drowsy motorists in New Mexico put lives at risk when they take to the road. Unfortunately, some drivers do not recognize how dangerous this behavior truly is, while other motorists may not even realize they are tired. In order to help prevent drowsy driving crashes, motorists should familiarize themselves with various dangers and make sure they are vigilant when operating a motor vehicle.

Sleep deprivation and other risk factors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving often occurs when drivers who do not get enough sleep. However, there are other risk factors associated with this dangerous behavior, including the following:

  • Drug or alcohol intoxication
  • A sleep disorder that has not been treated
  • The use of certain types of medication
  • Working excessive shifts or odd hours

Those who operate a vehicle while sleepy could pose a threat to themselves and others on the road for various reasons. For example, it may take longer for them to react and they could have a higher likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel. Furthermore, drowsy drivers often make poorer decisions and struggle with focusing, thereby increasing the chances of a crash.

Drowsy driving statistics

The CDC reports that over the course of 2013, drowsiness accounted for 800 fatalities and 72,000 accidents. Additionally, estimates show that 1 out of every 25 drivers over the age of 18 admitted to falling asleep while operating a vehicle in the past 30 days. Research also shows that those who sleep for less than six hours per night or snore have a greater chance of falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving wrecks are most common between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. as well as late in the afternoon. However, they may occur at any time of day or night in both urban and rural areas.

Staying alert while driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that drivers should always ensure they get between seven and eight hours of sleep during every 24-hour period. Drivers who notice they are drowsy could become more alert for a short period of time by taking a brief nap at a rest stop or other safe location and consuming coffee. However, these measures will not keep them alert for very long.

In Albuquerque, and cities across New Mexico, many drivers have ignored dangerous signs of drowsiness and caused wrecks that turned families' lives upside down. From death and debilitating injuries to financial complications, victims of drowsy driving accidents struggle with all sorts of challenges. For some, talking to an attorney may provide a better understanding of their options and help them restore a bit of normalcy.