Drowsiness is, for many in Illinois, the natural consequence of losing one hour of sleep for daylight saving time. If these same people choose to drive while drowsy, though, then they are endangering both themselves and others. Everyone needs at least seven hours of sleep a day. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that to miss one to two of those hours in a 24-hour period is to nearly double one’s car crash risk.
The National Sleep Foundation says that anyone who sleeps for less than two hours is unfit to operate a motor vehicle. AAA goes further by saying that sleeping for only five hours can produce the same level of impairment as that experienced by a drunk driver.
Sleep is the sole remedy for fatigue, so drivers are encouraged to adjust their sleep schedules before every daylight saving time. They should not rely on short-term tactics like rolling down the window or drinking coffee. They should also be able to recognize the warning signs of drowsiness: lane drifting, trouble keeping one’s eyes open, trouble remembering the last few exits, etc.
One AAA survey showed that 95 percent of drivers understand the danger of drowsy driving. Doing something about it is another matter, though. Three in 10 responded that they had driven to the point of drooping eyelids at least once in the previous month.
A drowsy driver is a negligent driver. Whenever negligence or recklessness is behind a car accident, those who are injured through no fault of their own become eligible to recover damages. In this state, those who are less than 50 percent at fault in the case of a two-car crash can file a personal injury claim. Before filing, though, they may wish to consult with an attorney and leave the settlement negotiations to their attorney.