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Houston Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Auto Accidents > Fatigue and its Effect on Car Accidents

Fatigue and its Effect on Car Accidents


You may think nothing of getting behind the wheel while exhausted. After all, isn’t everyone a little tired first thing in the morning? However, drivers need to understand that a lack of sleep can have detrimental effects for even the most experienced drivers.

Drowsy driving is very dangerous. It’s more serious than you may think. In fact, going without sleep for more than 20 hours is the same as being drunk (having a blood alcohol content of 0.08). Drowsy driving causes an estimated 6,400 fatalities every year.

You may be tired while behind the wheel and not even know it. That’s how scary this issue is. You may even experience micro-sleep while driving. This refers to short, involuntary periods of inattention lasting 4-5 seconds.

Sleep is important. It is necessary for all humans so they can maintain daily function. When you drive without adequate sleep, your motor skills are seriously impaired. In fact, drivers who have less than five hours in the last 24 hours should not drive. They are too fatigued and face a high risk of getting into a crash.

Drowsy driving is prevalent, given that 37% of Americans get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. Drowsy driving is most common among young drivers (ages 16-25), as those in this demographic need the most sleep but often don’t get it. Getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night is recommended.

Truck drivers and those with long commutes face a higher risk of falling asleep while behind the wheel. Driving at night, driving on highways and rural roads, and consuming alcohol or certain medications can make a driver more likely to fall asleep.

Signs of Driver Fatigue

Are you at risk of falling asleep while driving? Here are some signs you should not ignore:

  • Frequent blinking
  • Heaviness in the eyes
  • Yawning
  • Inability to focus
  • Missing an exit
  • Drifting out of a lane

How to Avoid Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue can be hard to avoid but here are some steps you can take:

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Start trips early in the day.
  • Avoid driving late at night.
  • Avoid driving alone.
  • Stop to eat snacks.
  • Take breaks often — every two hours or 100 miles.
  • Keep your vehicle cool and ventilated.
  • Listen to the radio or sing.
  • If you need to rest, pull over and take a 20-minute nap.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer 

Many drivers underestimate the effects of minimal sleep. It is similar to drunk driving and can cause drivers to fall asleep while behind the wheel. This is a dangerous practice that has led to thousands of fatal crashes every year.

Affected by drowsy driving? Contact a Houston car accident attorney from The West Law Office, PLLC for legal help. Car crashes can be overwhelming, but we can give you solid legal advice. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 281-347-3247 or filling out the online form.



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