The results of several studies reveal that most motorists in North Carolina and around the country understand that drowsy driving can be extremely dangerous. However, a worrying number of them also admit that they routinely get behind the wheel or stay on the road when they are too tired to drive safely. Most of these drivers would never venture onto the roads after drinking heavily, but a motorist who has not slept for 24 hours is just as impaired as one with a blood alcohol concentration of .10 according to the National Sleep Foundation.
The problem is that most drivers are unwilling to pull over when they feel tired because their journeys are almost complete and they think that opening a window, playing loud music or drinking coffee will keep them alert enough to reach their destinations. Experts say that these tricks do not work and can sometimes make matters worse.
Sleep specialists have been saying for years that adequate rest is the only known remedy for fatigue, and they advise drivers to bear this in mind and include frequent rest breaks when they plan long journeys. They also warn drivers to be aware of the warning signs of dangerous drowsiness such as missing exits or signs, drifting from lane to lane and driving over the rumble strips cut into the sides of roads.
There was a time when proving that a driver was fatigued when they crashed was very difficult in car accident lawsuits, but that was before auto manufacturers started to fit black box type data recorders to their vehicles. Experienced personal injury attorneys may have the cars involved in accidents inspected so that the information stored on these devices can be retrieved. This data can reveal how fast cars were traveling and whether their drivers took any evasive action. Inspections could also uncover other evidence such as shoddy repair work or neglected maintenance.