The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 100,000 motor vehicle crashes each year are caused by fatigued driving. Annually, these accidents resulted in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 million in damages. When more drivers educate themselves about the danger of fatigued driving, fewer car accidents may occur. The following provides critical details to remember about falling asleep at the wheel.
What Makes Fatigued Driving Dangerous?
Driving while fatigued increases a person’s risk of falling asleep and subsequently losing control of the vehicle. Fatigued driving also often results in delayed reaction time, loss of situational awareness, poor judgment, and poor decision-making on the part of the driver. Fatigued driving dramatically lowers a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Because drowsy driving is so common, many motorists downplay the danger of such behavior. In reality, a person who has been awake for at least 18 hours is at the same risk of an accident as a person who has a blood alcohol content reading 0.05g/100 ml. This data means that drowsy motorists are much more likely to end up in accidents than those who are well-rested.
What Causes Motorists to Experience Fatigue?
Drowsy driving includes any case of operating a vehicle while tired or sleepy. The effects of fatigued driving include impaired attention and coordination as well as delayed reaction times and poor judgment. Anyone can experience the effects of less-than-satisfactory sleep. Certain people, however, are more disposed to driving while fatigued.
Some of the parties who commonly engage in fatigued driving include commercial vehicle drivers who operate trucks or vans, shift workers who work the night shift, individuals with sleep disorders that involve sleep loss, and people who take medications that cause drowsiness.
How to Respond if You Fall Asleep While Driving
If you experience sleepiness while driving or notice a warning sign of fatigue, you should stop driving as soon as it is possible to safely do so. This might mean pulling into the next rest stop or another safe area ahead of you. The risk to others and to yourself, including any passengers who are traveling with you, is never worth it. It’s always best to only drive when you are well-rested.
Speak With a Compassionate Accident Attorney
No matter if your car accident was the result of a driver who fell asleep at the wheel or some other complication, one of the best things that you can do following a crash is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Contact House Law LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.