Causes, Symptoms, and How to Prevent Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving is not uncommon—and, unfortunately, it is inevitable. Drivers may experience drowsiness on their way home from work or on a long road trip. Whatever the reason for driving while feeling drowsy, it can become a serious problem for everyone on the road.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

The National Safety Council released a comprehensive report revealing that 100,000 car crashes in the country occurred due to drowsy driving. Of that number, 1,550 died, and 71,000 sustained injuries. However, the NSC’s stats show that drowsy driving accounts for only 9.5% of vehicle collisions. Although the percentage appears to be low, car accidents of this nature are entirely preventable.

Driving drowsy is not only dangerous but also negligent and unlawful. Any exhausted driver that harms another person in an accident must compensate for damages or death caused. Unfortunately, we often underestimate the potential damage drowsy driving can cause. For example, driving eighteen hours at a stretch is equivalent to operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content above .08, severely impairing the driver.

Causes of Drowsiness During Driving

Several factors can cause a driver to become drowsy while driving, including medical conditions, sleep disorders, and prescription medications. Likewise, engaging in a physically and mentally draining task before driving can cause a motorist to become tired. However, no matter the cause—even if explainable—it does not eliminate liability in the event of an accident.

How to Recognize Signs of Drowsiness While Driving

Recognizing the signs of drowsiness when driving can save the driver’s life and the lives of everyone else on the road. It is possible for a driver to feel alert and focused despite being on a long road trip. However, the driver can become drowsy after staring at the road for long periods. Often, drowsy driving is due to a lack of quality sleep. Common signs that a driver can watch out for include:

  • Feeling sleepy
  • Yawning excessively
  • Feeling as if they are drifting
  • Eyes feel heavy or are even closing
  • Repeatedly going over rumble strips on the middle or shoulder of the road

If an individual notices these signs while driving, they should pull over and rest or, if possible, let someone else drive. While a short nap may delay them from getting home in time for dinner, it will ensure they get home safely.

Tips for Preventing Drowsy Driving

The fastest proven way to prevent drowsy driving is to prepare accordingly and anticipate the length of a trip. Helpful tips for preventing and protecting oneself from drowsy driving include the following:

·      Grab a cup of coffee

·      Eat light and avoid alcohol or medications that can make you tired

·      Do not drive right before bed, after waking up, or for too long after work

·      Stop when needed to rest or nap, or switch drivers every one to two hours if there is a co-driver

Legal Implications of the Consequences of Drowsy Driving

If an exhausted driver causes a crash, they will be responsible for the ensuing damages. Often, a driver’s insurance company pays for property damage but must also pay for any bodily injuries sustained. Likewise, negligent motorists might also be liable for an injured person’s:

·      Consortium loss, pain, and suffering

·      Medical equipment is needed to treat injuries

·      Medical bills and lost wages for the past and future

Call an Attorney Today if you Were Hurt in a Drowsy Driving Accident

If you were a victim of a drowsy driving accident, you should hire an experienced car accident lawyer to help them get compensation for sustained injuries. A legal representative at Roberts Markland LLP could help gather evidence, negotiate settlements with insurance companies or courts, and fight for your right as the victim.

Regardless of the reason behind drowsy driving, negligence is inexcusable – especially when it puts someone else’s life in danger. Contact us today to learn more.