Have you ever found yourself dozing off while you were behind the wheel? Have you wondered in that situation whether you should pull over to take a rest or grab a coffee and continue on your trip?
A new study recently published in the British Medical Journal investigated the effectiveness of caffeine in preventing truck accidents among commercial motor vehicle drivers.
The researchers examined data from over 1,000 truck drivers, about half of whom were involved in truck accidents between December 2008 and May 2011. Of the drivers interviewed, 43 percent used some type of caffeinated substance to stay awake while they were on the road.
The study revealed that the truck drivers who consumed caffeine were 60 percent less likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than their non-caffeinated counterparts. While these statistics are promising, they do not necessarily show that caffeine is the solution to the problem when it comes to drowsy driving.
The researchers indicated that more information is needed to know what the best course of action is when feeling tired behind the wheel. They explained that consuming caffeine, taking a nap or going for a walk are all activities that should be further examined to determine how successfully they protect motorists from fatigue.
Prevent auto accidents caused by drowsy drivers
According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy drivers cause between 5,000 and 6,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents annually. The NHTSA believes that approximately 2.5 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. are the result of a drowsy driver. In addition, the NHTSA has estimated that around 2 percent of all motor vehicle accidents that lead to personal injuries are the result of a fatigued driver.
When getting behind the wheel, particularly for a long car ride, it is imperative to ensure you are alert enough to operate the vehicle safely. Of course, the best way to ensure sufficient attentiveness is to get a good night’s sleep the night before. The National Institutes of Health recommend that adults sleep for seven to eight hours a night to be fully rested.
Motorists should always refrain from consuming alcohol or taking medications that cause drowsiness before getting behind the wheel. In addition, drivers who suffer from sleep disorders should consult with a physician.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to damages. Consulting with a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure that your rights are protected.