There’s a pretty good reason your infant or toddler goes right to sleep the minute you place him or her in the car seat and start driving. This is because the vibrations caused by a running car engine has that lulling effect on vehicle occupants. Now, a new study has found that these vibrations in a running vehicle can also lull drivers to a sleepier state within minutes of hitting the road.
Drowsiness Even When Well Rested
Researches at RMIT University in Australia sought to uncover why drivers are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel in the hope of preventing this dangerous behavior and preventing car accidents caused by drowsy driving. The researchers found that the gentle vibrations made by car seats as you drive can lull both your body and your brain.
When a vehicle like a car or truck is running, it emits steady vibrations at low frequencies, according to the authors of the study published in the journal Ergonomics. These tiny movements could make even those who are well rested and healthy, sleepy, the study says.
To test their theory, researchers recruited 15 volunteers who were asked to sit in a virtual simulator to recreate the experience of driving on a monotonous, two-lane highway. Researchers found that the vibrations made the participants tired and made it more difficult for them to perform mental tasks. After just 15 minutes of vibration, the participants shows signs of drowsiness and after 30 minutes, were significantly drowsy and had to try hard to stay alert. Their drowsiness peaked after 60 minutes.
The Dangers of Driving Drowsy
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that in 2016, 803 people died as a result of car accidents caused by drowsy driving. Experts believe this number is largely underestimated and based on how many people drive while drowsy, that number should be much higher.
Drowsy driving is much more common than drunk driving just because people tend to underestimate their level of exhaustion. This report that shows you could become sleepy in the car even when you are well rested is deeply disturbing. It shows us how much more important it is for us to take the necessary steps to remain alert while driving.
If you cause an accident while driving drowsy, that amounts to negligence. You could be held accountable for the injuries, damages and losses caused. If you have been injured by a drowsy driver, you could seek compensation for injuries and damages as well. An experienced California car accident lawyer will be able to help you seek and obtain maximum compensation for your losses.