Antihistamines could lead to drowsy driving accidents

Many people in South Carolina and across the country are battling allergies, as the season for runny noses and itchy eyes is upon us. To combat these symptoms, many people turn to antihistamines, popular medications meant to diminish the symptoms associated with allergy season.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, individuals who choose to take antihistamines should be particularly cautious if they are considering getting behind the wheel shortly thereafter. Based on information from the FDA, these medications can cause people to feel fatigued and decrease their reaction times. Both of these problems can lead to severe consequences when on the road.

When a driver is exhausted, he or she is more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately, many Americans get behind the wheel every day while suffering from the symptoms of exhaustion.

Drowsy driving more common than many people imagine

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a significant number of auto accidents in the United States are caused by drowsy drivers annually. The NHTSA has indicated that between 5,000 to 6,000 traffic collisions that resulted in a fatality were the result of a fatigued motorist - accounting for around 2.5 percent of all fatal accidents in the U.S. In addition, approximately 2 percent of collisions that result in individuals sustaining personal injuries were the result of a drowsy driver.

Despite these statistics, a surprising number of Americans admit to falling asleep while behind the wheel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 4 percent of 150,000 motorists surveyed admitted to nodding off while at the wheel during the previous month.

Avoid accidents caused by driving while fatigued

Of course, motorists can take steps to ensure they are alert before getting behind the wheel. Particularly prior to a long car trip, a driver should always make an effort to get a good night's sleep beforehand, sleeping at least seven to eight hours. In addition, motorists should be aware of the side effects of any medications they may take before getting on the road. Finally, any time an individual is going to drive, he or she should refrain from drinking alcohol or using controlled substances, as these can cause drowsiness, as well.

When anyone in the vehicle notices that the driver is exhibiting signs of fatigue - such as frequent yawning or drifting out of the lane - the motorist should safely pull over. In such cases, if there is not another available driver, the motorist should take a break before getting back on the road.

If you have been injured in a drowsy driving accident, seeking the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.