Myths about sleep and drowsy driving

Urban legends can have extraordinarily long lives. Consider some myths about sleep that science and logic have been unable to extinguish: the belief that “you swallow a few spiders every year while you sleep” and that during sleep, your brain rests (in fact, your body rests but your brain stays active). There are sleep myths regarding driving, too: if you’re driving while drowsy, you can turn up the radio or roll down the windows to stay awake.

The reality is that the only real way to fix drowsy driving is to get some sleep. Turning up the music volume or the air conditioning simply does not keep drivers awake and safe from motor vehicle crashes.

Those sleep tricks “are ineffective and can be dangerous to anyone who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy, as well as their passengers and others on the road,” said a spokesperson for Calm, a sleep and meditation app.

A few years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that fatigued drivers were responsible for 72,000 wrecks, 44,000 injuries and approximately 800 deaths annually.

While it’s true that the worst thing that can happen to a drowsy driver is to fall asleep behind the wheel, sleepy drivers are not safe just because they manage to stay awake. Drowsiness reduces your ability to focus and pay attention to roads and traffic, and it slows your reaction times and diminishes your ability to made quick and good decisions.

Those who have been hurt by a drowsy driver can contact a St. Louis attorney experienced in personal injury litigation involving both passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers.