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New Study Shows Vehicle Vibrations May Trigger Drowsy Driving

Jul 10, 2018 | By , on Personal Injury.

Drowsy driving accidents are very common and extremely dangerous. Motorists who drive while fatigued endanger the lives of everyone on the road and should be held accountable in the event that their sleepiness behind the wheel causes a collision to occur. A Miami personal injury lawyer can provide representation to victims of accidents involving these overtired drivers.

Unfortunately, recent research from RMIT University in Australia suggests that the vibrations of the vehicle itself might increase the likelihood of a drowsy driving collision occurring. Motorists need to be aware of the dangers of fatigued driving and make sure to react appropriately when they find themselves feeling tired so they do not risk their own life or the lives of others.

Can Car Vibrations Really Trigger Drowsy Driving Accidents?

Researchers from RMIT University conducted an experiment in which volunteers were hooked up to a virtual simulator in order to measure their drowsiness levels. The volunteers underwent each specific test twice. In one of the simulations, they were exposed to no vibration and in the other they were exposed to vibrations similar to those they would experience while operating a typical vehicle.

During the simulations, each participant’s heart rate variability was measured over 60 minutes. This is a common test used to detect drowsiness because the central nervous system undergoes changes when someone becomes fatigued. 

The research revealed that the individuals who were exposed to the vibrations started to feel sleepy within as little as 15 minutes. As the testing period continued, their levels of fatigue grew. This led researchers to hypothesize that the human brain becomes synced to the vibrations of the car as those vibrations continue. This causes the body to begin to transition into the early phases of sleep.

The research not only helps to explain why drowsy driving has become such a major issue, but it also provides an explanation for why people frequently fall asleep on car trips, including in situations when an entire vehicle full of travelers on a road trip begins to fall asleep.

Researchers acknowledge that the testing has limitations, including the fact that the drivers were only exposed to a limited range of vibration frequencies. However, The New Wheels states that experts believe the research has helped to provide one likely explanation for why the phenomenon of motorists falling asleep behind the wheel is common.

One of the lead researchers indicates that unfortunately the study results suggest that even healthy and otherwise well-rested people are potentially at risk of fatigue-related accidents while driving because of the fact that the steady vibrations from the car have the impact of producing this effect on the body. This can make it more difficult for drivers who are behaving responsibly and who get a good night sleep before getting behind the wheel to reduce the chances of accidents.

Still, drivers should recognize when they’re becoming fatigued and should stop driving if they fear they will nod off. If motorists make the dangerous choice to continue driving when they are too tired to do so in a safe way, they can be held accountable for any resulting accident that occurs. A Miami personal injury lawyer should be consulted by victims to provide help in taking legal action after a fatigued driving crash.

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