Hawaii News reports that a 21-year-old Waipahu man injured himself and his passenger when he fell asleep at the wheel. According to an initial review of the truck accident, the man was driving west bound on Farrington Highway when he dozed off, causing the vehicle to veer off the road and onto the shoulder, eventually colliding with a utility pole. The passenger was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the truck. Both men were taken to a nearby hospital. Drugs and alcohol were not believed to be factors in the incident. The accident remains under investigation.
Driving while fatigued – or “drowsy driving” – is a serious driving hazard. Falling asleep while driving is an obvious concern, but driving while tired is also risky, with drivers losing focus on the road, exhibiting slowed or delayed reactions to conditions on the road, and a decreased ability to process their surroundings and make good judgment calls.
According to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) latest estimates, each year drowsy driving accounts for at least 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths. Many more likely occur, but are not reported.
Some tips for avoid “drowsy” or “fatigued” driving include some obvious points such as getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol or medications that may make you drowsy. However, if you find yourself tired while driving, open a window or turn down the temperature. Cooling down the vehicle can help you stay alert. Other tips include listening to upbeat music, engaging in conversation with a passenger, and drinking caffeinated beverages.
If none of these tricks work, you should pull over where it is safe and take a brief 15-20 minute nap, or change drivers to avoid potential accidents.
For more information or if you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, please contact the experienced Hawaii personal injury accident lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.