In New York and across the U.S., drowsy driving is becoming an epidemic. In a AAA survey, nearly one-third of respondents said that at least once in the past month, they drove while having trouble keeping their eyes open. Many drivers are not getting the seven hours of sleep every night that the CDC recommends, and some may have a disorder like obstructive sleep apnea that makes them tired even when they get seven hours.
Car accidents in New York can be devastating and may cause people to sustain catastrophic injuries and even die as a result. Many factors, from increased distraction due to smartphones to outdoor weather conditions, can combine to make driving on the roadways a more dangerous experience. One study revealed that even light rainfall can significantly increase the risk for a dangerous or fatal crash. Rain, snow and ice can make roadway fatalities 34% more likely, according to a study from the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Drivers in New York and across the U.S. are distracting themselves behind the wheel, even when they know it is wrong. Moreover, they tend to criticize others for the same reckless behavior they themselves engage in. This was the conclusion of Root Insurance's second annual distracted driving study.
With daylight saving time comes the loss of one hour of sleep. While most people in New York may only feel inconvenienced by it, they should know that the resulting drowsiness can make a difference on the road. Everyone needs at least seven hours of rest. Drivers who miss one to two hours of rest in the previous 24 hours will nearly double their chances of a car accident.
Many New York residents worry about the impact of the opioid epidemic, from growing rates of addiction to the threat of deadly overdoses. One area where opiates may also have an impact on safety is on the roadway. A study examined fatal two-car accidents across the country and discovered that drivers held responsible for causing these crashes were almost twice as likely to have prescription opiate medications in their system at the time as the driver of the other vehicle.
There are a several common factors in New York car accidents. Human error is behind many, especially distracted driving. This has become a widespread issue with more and more drivers using their smartphones behind the wheel. Virtually anything, though, from talking to passengers to eating, can become a distraction. Another factor is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
While widespread public campaigns have informed New York drivers of the dangers of using their smartphones behind the wheel, distraction continues to pose a serious threat on the roads. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a report comparing surveys observing drivers in 2014 and 2018 for signs of distraction while driving or stopped at red lights. They found that the overall rate of distracted driving appears to be roughly the same four years apart, but the type of distractions may vary considerably. In addition, mobile phones aren't the only issue diverting drivers' eyes and minds from the roads ahead.
Commuters who rely on services like Uber and Lyft may want to be aware that rideshare drivers typically work as independent contractors. The companies do have regulations in place that demand drivers take six-hour break periods after a certain amount of driving time. However, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has pointed out that many of these drivers work other jobs that could lead to added fatigue.
People in New York may have particular concerns about truck accidents, especially since the occupants of passenger cars and other smaller vehicles are far more likely to be seriously injured in case of a crash. Statistics also show that crashes involving large commercial trucks like dump trucks and concrete delivery vehicles are on an upswing. While insurers have raised insurance premiums for commercial truck companies, this has had little effect on the escalating number of accidents. Various initiatives to reduce the risk of driver fatigue also aim to improve roadway safety.
Drivers in New York will face many challenges when winter brings wet, snowy and icy road conditions. That's why concerned motorists should have a mechanic check vehicle components such as the brakes, ignition, battery and spark plugs. They could also have the mechanic check antifreeze levels and tire pressure.