Since many young people are driving long distances to be with family for the holidays, they could be at an even greater risk of having a car accident related to drowsy driving.
Newark, NJ (PRWEB) December 03, 2012
New Jersey car accident attorney Joseph A. Ginarte today urged drivers in New Jersey, New York and across the country to get plenty of rest before taking to the road during the holiday travel season after a new report revealed that 1 in 7 young drivers admitted to nodding off behind the wheel during the past year.
“Drowsy driving is a serious safety threat on our highways, particularly among drivers in their late teens and early 20s,” Ginarte said. “Studies show that drowsy driving is at least as dangerous as drunk driving, yet many people are not as concerned about driving while tired. That needs to change.”
He was referring to a recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which found that 1 in 7 drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 admitted to dozing while driving during the prior year, a figure that significantly exceeds the overall figure of 1 in 10 drivers of all ages.
“Since many young people are driving long distances to be with family for the holidays, they could be at an even greater risk of having a car accident related to drowsy driving,” Ginarte said. A partner in the law firm of Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP, he represents victims of New Jersey and New York car accidents.
The drowsy driving problem is widespread, studies show. According to a National Sleep Foundation report, 41 percent of all drivers said they have fallen asleep at the wheel at some point in their lives. Over 25 percent of drivers reported that they fell asleep between noon and 5 p.m., and about as many reported nodding off between midnight and 6 a.m.
Drowsy drivers cause around 7 percent of all crashes requiring a tow, 13 percent of crashes that require hospital attention, and 16.5 percent of all fatal accidents, according to AAA. The AAA study also suggests that most instances of driver fatigue happen on multi-lane divided highways – such as interstate highways, freeways and parkways.
“With Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday travel season, traffic on major highways will increase. When combined with the stress and time-constraints of many people’s holiday plans, drowsy driving poses a major threat to everyone’s safety on the road,” Ginarte said.
AAA pointed out some key warning signs that a driver might be too drowsy to safely operate a vehicle. They include:
- Trouble remembering the last miles driven or missing exits and traffic signs
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open and focused
- Yawning frequently or rubbing your eyes repeatedly
- Drifting from your lane or off the road
- Daydreaming or having wandering, disconnected thoughts.
Ginarte echoed the AAA Foundation’s advice to motorists: If you’re too tired to safely operate a vehicle, let someone else who is well rested drive. If that isn’t possible, find a safe place to get off the road and rest.
Some other suggestions to help stay alert and attentive behind the wheel include:
- Get plenty of sleep (at least seven hours) the night before a long trip.
- Avoid travelling at times you would normally be sleeping.
- Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles.
- Avoid heavy foods.
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.
“You have control over only your own decisions. Unfortunately, drivers who do the right things could still be the victim of a car accident caused by a dangerous drowsy driver this holiday season,” Ginarte said.
He encouraged people who suffer personal injuries because of another driver’s negligence to seek help from an experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer like the ones at the Ginarte law firm.
About Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP
For more than 30 years, Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP, has served the residents of the New Jersey and New York metro area. In addition to its general practice, the firm assists clients with legal claims arising from car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice and other personal injury cases. The firm also represents clients in employment discrimination, Social Security Disability and workers’ compensation matters. The Ginarte law firm features offices located in New York City, Newark, Elizabeth, Clifton, Union City and Perth Amboy. The firm’s Newark office is located at 400 Market Street, Newark, NJ 07105 (local phone (973) 854-8400). The firm can assist Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking clients. To learn more, call 1-888-GINARTE or use the firm’s online contact form.