Driving While Fatigued: What You Need to Know
There are many reasons why people get into car accidents. Some are inexperienced drivers. Others are distracted by their phone or other factors. Some drink and drive. Others drive while tired, which may seem innocent enough, but it can actually be quite dangerous.
Sleep is very important, especially when performing a function such as driving. Driving requires high levels of concentration and awareness. When a person is driving while drowsy, their functioning is diminished. Drowsy driving is when a person is behind the wheel of a vehicle while sleeping or fatigued. Drowsy driving is a serious problem that is risky and often leads to tragic results.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 25 adult drivers have fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days. In 2013, driving while fatigued caused 72,000 crashes. These accidents accounted for 44,000 injuries and 800 fatalities.
Drowsiness is dangerous. It caused drivers to pay less attention to the road. If you have to brake quickly or avoid an accident, you may not be able to do so. Extreme fatigue also affects your ability to make good decisions.
Anyone can drive while drowsy, but the biggest offenders are commercial vehicle drivers, since they are on deadline and often forced to drive for long hours without breaks. Shift workers are also prone to drive while tired because they are often awake for long hours or driving at night, when the urge to fall asleep is greater. Driving while fatigued is also common among those with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy. In addition, those who take certain medications and then drive may end up with drowsiness while behind the wheel.
To prevent drowsy driving, the easiest way is to get enough sleep—aim for seven hours daily. Stick to a sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same time every day. If you have a sleep disorder, see a doctor for treatment. Be careful of taking medications that could make you tired.
Signs of Drowsy Driving
You may be too tired to drive and not even know it. Or maybe you’re yawning a lot, but think you can make it to your destination safely. In any case, it may be time to pull over and rest if you’re experiencing any of these signs of drowsy driving:
- Heavy eyelids and frequent blinking of the eyes
- Daydreaming and difficulty focusing
- Feeling like being in a daze while driving
- Missing exits or running through traffic signs or signals
- Drifting from your lane
- Hitting a rumble strip
- Inability to keep your head up
- Rubbing your eyes or frequent yawning
- Restlessness or irritability
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Drowsy driving is dangerous—about as bad as drinking and driving. When a lack of sleep leads to an accident, it can lead to negative consequences. Many people are injured or killed because of it.
No matter the cause of your car crash, the Houston auto accident lawyers at The West Law Office, PLLC can help determine liability. Let our team assess your case and help you obtain all the compensation you deserve. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call 281-347-3247.