Just about everyone knows that drunk driving and distracted driving are some of the most common causes of motor vehicle collisions. But what about driving while drowsy? Tired driving is often overlooked, despite being a factor in up to 6,000 yearly …
Just about everyone knows that drunk driving and distracted driving are some of the most common causes of motor vehicle collisions. But what about driving while drowsy? Tired driving is often overlooked, despite being a factor in up to 6,000 yearly fatal collisions according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, it is estimated that 1 in 25 adult drivers age 18 or older have admitted to falling asleep while driving within the past 30 days, with roughly 60 percent of drivers admitting to having driven while drowsy within the past year.
When a driver has not slept enough or is feeling drowsy from medications, work, alcohol, or an untreated sleep disorder, they can start to exhibit many effects similar to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Possibly the most dangerous aspect is that nobody knows the exact moment that sleep overtakes their body, with drowsy drivers potentially falling asleep at any time.
Drowsiness can have the following effects while driving:
- Slowed reaction times
- Hindered ability to make good decisions
- Drifting between lanes
- Unintentionally changing speed
- Wandering thoughts
Drowsiness Is Less Easily Identified
One of the main reasons why tired driving does not get a considerable amount of attention is because it can be difficult to be identified following a collision. While toxicology reports and cell phone records can provide definitive evidence of whether a driver was intoxicated or texting at the time of a crash, crashed caused by a driver falling asleep have less concrete evidence. Likewise, reporting procedures are inconsistent throughout much of the United States, with police having little to no training on how to properly identify drowsiness as being a contributing factor in the event of a crash. While certain modern cars are equipped with safety features which attempt to alert a driver if they begin to drift between lanes, drivers are still responsible for looking out for signs of fatigue.
Ways that you can protect against driver fatigue include:
- Making sure to get enough sleep before going on a road trip
- Pull over and take a 20 to 40 minute nap
- Sharing driving duty with passengers
- Exercising every few hours at rest stops
Unfortunately, nobody can ever foresee the actions of another driver. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a tired driver, get in touch with the New Braunfels personal injury lawyers at Kyle Law Firm. With more than 60 years of trusted legal experience and millions recovered in verdicts and settlements, we have what it takes to maximize your financial recovery.