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Long work hours can lead to drowsy driving accidents

People in Maryland who work in factories or in the service industry often work double shifts or third shift. While they may do so simply to earn an income so they can provide for their family it is likely that after their shift is done, they will have to drive to get home. However, doing so puts them at risk of causing a drowsy driving accident.

The scope of the drowsy driving problem

The scope of the drowsy driving problem in the U.S. is a bit hazy. In a car crash there may be clues that drowsiness was a factor, but these clues cannot always be found or may be inconclusive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2017 there were approximately 91,000 police-reported motor vehicle accidents in which drowsiness was a factor. In these crashes approximately 800 people lost their lives and a further 50,000 people were injured. However, it is broadly understood that these numbers may underestimate just how many drowsy driving crashes take place each year.

What factors may lead to drowsy driving accidents?

Most drowsy driving accidents take place between the hours of 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and again in the late afternoon. This is due to our natural circadian rhythm wherein our bodies are naturally drowsy. Generally, those who cause a drowsy driving accident do not have any passengers in the car. Also, drowsy driving accidents often take place on rural roads and highways.

Can’t I just drink a cup of coffee?

Those who must drive overnight or after a long shift at work may rely on caffeinated beverages such as coffee or energy drinks to keep them alert enough to get home safely. However, doing so does not prevent “micro sleeps” in which a sleep-deprived person briefly loses consciousness for a few seconds. Moreover, it can lead a driver into a false sense of security that could cause them to take risks behind the wheel.

Learn more about drowsy driving accidents

Sleep deprivation is common among many workers in Maryland, but it should still be avoided. Unfortunately, some drivers will make the risky decision to drive while drowsy leading to a potentially catastrophic car crash. Our firm’s webpage on motor vehicle accidents may be of interest to those who want to learn more about this topic.