Kansas City Missouri Legal Blog

Drivers who are likely to fall asleep behind the wheel

Driving seems like such an intensive activity that some people may find it hard to believe that someone can simply fall asleep at the wheel. Yet driving while drowsy is actually a serious problem in the United States, and not just for people who consume alcohol. Depending on your job or current state of health, you may actually be at risk at falling asleep while driving on a Missouri road and getting into an auto accident as a result.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists several groups of people that are likely to fall asleep at the wheel. If you are a shift worker who has put in long hours at the workplace, or if you are someone who works the night shift, you might get behind the wheel in a fatigued state. Additionally, you may become exhausted by the act of driving itself. Employed drivers who handle commercial vehicles like buses and tractor trailers are behind the wheel for long periods of time. Whether you work outside a vehicle or inside it, a long period of work can drain your stamina and leave you at risk for falling asleep while driving.

Health issues can also put a motorist at risk of falling asleep on the road. Some drivers may suffer from a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea. A motorist may use medication that induces drowsiness. And of course, some people may simply not get enough sleep. The stress of work and family may cause individuals to put off sleep until the late hours, which can deprive people of valuable sleep and cause fatigue to arrive more quickly.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people may need to pay attention to their body’s internal sleeping clock. Motorists who crash their vehicles resulting from drowsy driving do so between the hours of midnight and six in the morning, or during late afternoon hours. During these periods of time, the human body experiences dips in the internal body clock that controls the body’s sleep functions, which makes a person more susceptible to falling asleep. It may be unwise to get behind the wheel during these hours of the day or night if a person is prone to drowsiness.

Even teenagers are not immune to drowsy driving. The reason is because teens sometimes do not sleep during periods when their bodies possess a greater need for sleep. The long nights that teenagers may enjoy out of their homes can increase the chance that they fall asleep behind the wheel when they want to leave to go home or head to a place to eat or drink. The risk further increases if teens take long trips out of state.

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