Responsible drivers would almost never even consider driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal substances, or certain prescription medications. But, many drivers will operate their vehicles when they are too tired to drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 795 fatalities related to fatigued driving in 2017. In 2015, there were 90,000 wrecks related to this issue as well.
Drowsy driving is a problem that needs to be taken seriously among drivers. It is important to know what causes this issue to happen and what to do about it.
What causes drowsy driving?
In the United States, more and more people are staying awake for too long. Some are working while others are staying up late with their friends. Some drivers are raising a new baby and cannot sleep or are traveling to see family. This issue is becoming even worse because of the growing culture of a 24/7 lifestyle. No matter the reason, it is important to look at safety first.
An exact number of fatigue-related crashes is not available. It is thought that many fatalities could be caused by drowsiness but cannot be confirmed. Some of the following information is common to fatigued driving and car accidents.
- They occur between midnight and 6 AM, or in the late afternoon hours. The body’s natural internal clock shifts during these times.
- The scene of the accident is commonly a highway or rural areas like a ditch, field, or the bottom of a bridge.
- It is common for there to be only one person involved (the driver).
- Typically, the vehicle has shown signs that the driver accelerated and did not brake at all.
The most common signs of fatigued driving
The following are some of the most typical signs that will alert you that you are too tired to drive.
- You have not been maintaining a regular sleep schedule. This can affect you over time rather than immediately.
- You stayed up too late and did not get enough rest. No matter how much caffeine you consume, you will still be too tired to drive safely if this is the case.
- You don’t remember driving for the last few seconds, minutes, or miles. Sometimes this can happen if you are driving in a familiar area or when you are distracted. However, it is most common for drowsy drivers to lose track of where they are or how they got there. If you are fatigued, you may also miss an exit or turn, or hit rumble strips along the side of the road.
- You are yawning, blinking a lot, have heavy eyelids, or have scratchy eyes. Your body may also be twitchy, which is a result of stress hormones. These signs are your body telling you to sleep. If you are using the headrest frequently, this is another sign that you need to stop driving.
Tips to help you avoid driving if you are too tired
The best way to avoid a car accident caused by fatigue is to get enough sleep every night. Seven to eight hours is a common amount of healthy sleep. Speaking to your doctor is the best way to find out how much sleep you need though. You should also make sure medications will not make you drowsy and avoid driving when your circadian rhythm can dip.
If you must drive while drowsy, remember that even though your eyes are open, you may still have brief moments of sleep. Also, even if you drink coffee, that boost of caffeine will not be enough to keep you alert for long. The best thing to do is to pull over somewhere safe for a quick nap.
What happens if a drowsy driver hits you?
Drivers who are too tired to operate their vehicle safely behave much like those who are driving drunk. If you are hit by someone who is too tired to drive, you may have a case for a claim or lawsuit. Like all personal injury cases, it comes down to showing that negligence caused pain and suffering.
Rather than trust the insurance company of the other driver, who may offer you a settlement, contact an experienced attorney first. Personal injury lawyers understand laws AND specific situations, which means they can look at your case with a different mindset. They will review all documents related to your accident and seek information to help prove the negligence of the other driver.
Do you need a personal injury lawyer in Amarillo or Lubbock?
If you have been in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, you may have grounds to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. Call Attorney Dean Boyd and his Team to set up a free consultation and for more information about our Services. You can reach us at (806) 242-3333 or Contact Us by email. You can also visit us in person at 4423 SW 45th Ave in Amarillo, Texas or 5012 50th St #103 in Lubbock, Texas.