Of all the things you can do on the road, there are three main types of impairments that can make driving dangerous: drunk driving, fatigued driving, and distracted driving. Each of these impairments can have serious consequences both for the driver and for others on the road. It is important to understand the dangers of each of these impairments to ensure you never put other motorists or yourself at risk for serious injury or death. Keep reading to learn more about the three most dangerous driving impairments and how to avoid them, courtesy of our experienced auto accident attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC.
How Alcohol Impairs Driving Ability
Drunk driving is an incredibly dangerous act that can have devastating consequences. From losing one's driver's license to facing jail time, the risks of engaging in this activity far outweigh any potential rewards. In addition to the potentially extreme legal ramifications of being caught, alcohol has an extremely damaging effect on the human body's ability to safely operate a car or other motor vehicle, slowing reaction time, impairing cognitive abilities, and impacting one's judgment severely. Furthermore, DUI checkpoints and laws more strictly regulate drunk driving than many other types of reckless behavior in order to protect the lives and safety of not only innocent drivers but also those who have chosen to put themselves and others at risk by operating under the influence.
Bottom line: if you are under the influence and thinking of getting behind the wheel, just don’t. Either rely on a designated driver or call a rideshare service/cab. No matter how inconvenient the cost to get home may be, it’s nothing compared to the legal and physical ramifications that driving under the influence can have.
How Sleep Deprivation & Fatigued Driving Can Lead to Accidents
Fatigued driving generally occurs as a result of extreme exhaustion/sleep deprivation. In some cases, driving while sleep deprived can actually impair your judgment and reaction time just as much as if you had consumed alcohol. Fatigued driving may also be particularly dangerous at night, when your body's natural clock is telling you to rest. Studies show that even a few hours of lost sleep can hinder cognitive functions, which is why it's important to get a good night's rest before taking on any tasks or activities that require alertness and focus, such as driving.
Poor decisions caused by fatigue are often irreversible, so it's essential to always check in with yourself before you get behind the wheel. If you are exhausted from a long day at work and/or didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before, consider calling a friend or getting some rest before you get behind the wheel. In some cases, you may be able to keep yourself awake with caffeine, yet this can be dangerous too, as heavy caffeine consumption often comes with a crash. Again, we understand that waiting your fatigue out may sound like an inconvenience, but even taking a nap at the office would be better than getting behind the wheel if there’s a chance you could fall asleep.
Distracted Driving - Why Anything Taking Your Attention Away from the Road Can be Dangerous
Driving while distracted is both a widespread and incredibly dangerous issue. Anything that takes one's attention away from the road, whether it be through using a phone, eating, interacting with passengers in the car, or any other activity that distracts from complete focus on driving, has been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents. It has been found that distracted driving is especially hazardous for teen drivers, who are already more prone to reckless behaviors and mistakes behind the wheel due to their lack of experience.
Because of the risks to teenagers and others, many states have strengthened penalties for individuals who attempt to drive while distracted. As such, it is imperative that all drivers understand just how dangerous and preventable these accidents are in order to ensure their own safety and the safety of those around them on the road. A text message can always wait, and hungry as you might be, it’s usually better to hold off on eating till you get to your destination than snacking in the car. At the same time, if you find yourself distracted by passengers, try to find ways to either calm yourself down on the road or minimize the number of people in your vehicle. At the end of the day, your main priority has to be driving when you are behind the wheel, and anything that serves as a distraction from this should be avoided.
Victim of a Dangerous Driving Accident? Hire an Attorney Today.
At Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC, we have seen the dangers of drunk driving, drowsy driving, and distracted driving firsthand. It is clear that these behaviors can and do impair driving ability, creating safety issues for everyone on the road. That’s why our skilled personal injury attorneys continue to provide education and awareness about making smart decisions when behind the wheel. Check out more of our blog for information on distracted driving and basic driving safety guidelines in your daily life, and if you have recently been injured as a result of dangerous driving, give us a call today.