Phoenix and the surrounding cities are home to an unusual and eclectic mix of individuals. Known as a transplant destination, people come from all areas of the country – and even a few from Arizona itself – to comprise our population. As a result, there are drivers with a range of skills and knowledge on our shared roadways and contributing to public safety. While some skills are used in every state, like stopping for a red light, other techniques are not as helpful here in the desert, like driving efficiently in a heavy snowstorm.
One such skill that should be highly touted among all drivers, regardless of from where they hail, is the ability to recognize early warning signs of drowsiness and to respond appropriately by taking a break. After all, everyone gets tired sometimes and everyone needs to travel at times as well. Ideally, though, the tired will not also be the drivers in Phoenix and drowsy driving accidents will not occur. In reality, motorists are driving while sleepy every single day and are causing so many car accidents that experts are having a hard time concluding just how pervasive the problem is in Arizona.
Drowsy driving can strike at any time and can be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. Signs of drowsiness can start slowly and may involve difficulty concentrating or focusing on the road in front of the vehicle. A driver may start to notice her eyelids becoming heavy or may find herself blinking more frequently than normal. Others may find themselves unable to recall driving the previous few miles or struggling to keep their head upright as they drive.
With an awareness of how significant this problem is and how it is affecting thousands of lives annually, many major players in the automobile industry have started introducing drowsiness alerts in some of their new automobiles. There are several different types of drowsiness alerts currently available in the American market but all work by monitoring the pattern of certain driving actions and detecting when that pattern changes in a way that could indicate tiredness or even sleeping. The alert then activates to warn or wake the driver who is instructed to take appropriate action in response.
Some systems utilize a camera that is directed at a driver’s face to observe and note a driver’s changing condition. These systems can detect rapid blinking, head bobbing, or even prolonged eye closure and can notify a driver of a need to rest. Other systems monitor information from an electric power steering system to find troubling changes in steering which can indicate tiredness. And some systems use external cameras to monitor a vehicle’s position in a lane of traffic, alerting a driver when she is weaving or crossing lane boundary lines and suggesting she rest.
No matter how the system functions, drowsiness alerts can improve safety and reduce the number of collisions in Phoenix, leading to fewer lives lost each year. Even if you do not have a drowsiness alert system in your vehicle, you may be grateful if the driver next to you on the I-10 has one and is alerted to the need to rest by the system, saving you from being an unwilling victim of a collision. By reducing the number of drowsy drivers on Arizona roads, drowsiness alert systems can literally save dozens to hundreds of lives every year.
Any victim of a car accident may be entitled to seek relief for her injuries including those who were harmed by a sleepy or tired driver. If you have questions about your options, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney to learn how local and state laws apply to your collision and whether you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages.
Prior Blog Entry:
83 Percent of Large Truck-Related Fatalities Happen to Victims Outside of the Truck, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 7, 2016.