Drowsy driving may not seem like a big problem to many, but it is.
According to NHTSA, drowsy driving caused at least 91,000 crashes in 2017 alone, resulting in around 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths. Additionally, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research shows that driver fatigue is responsible for more than 21% of all traffic crashes.
That means drowsy driving is almost as serious as drunk driving. But what is drowsy driving, and what are its possible consequences? Keep reading to understand all that and more.
Understanding Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving often happens when a motorist gets behind the wheel and hasn’t had enough sleep or has untreated sleep disorders. It can also occur when a driver is on medicine or is facing other issues that cause drowsiness.
Regardless of the cause, driving while sleepy poses a serious danger to other motorists, pedestrians, and passengers.
Consequences Of Drowsy Driving
Many motorists do not consider drowsy driving a serious safety threat. However, drowsiness makes someone less aware of their surroundings and more easily distracted.
As a result, the driver will drift in and out of a lane or sometimes tailgate other cars. Due to reduced reaction times and impaired decision-making, the driver will have a challenge dodging road hazards and is more likely to engage in risky driving and even cause accidents.
If you or a family member is involved in a car collision caused by a drowsy driver, you may be eligible to recover damages through a personal injury claim. However, it is essential to hire a skilled lawyer to help you recoup the rightful compensation.
Legal Consequences Of Driving Drowsy
It is not technically illegal or punishable to drive while sleepy or fall asleep behind the wheel. However, if you get pulled over for driving recklessly, and the officer establishes that you are sleep-deprived, you will most certainly be issued a ticket and face punishment. In addition, you might face sanctions if you cause an accident while drowsy.
Driving while tired is usually classified as reckless driving, resulting in hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
On top of that, your insurance provider may not be willing to cover an accident you cause while driving sleepy. Although they may reimburse some damages, they will consider the severity of the incident.
If there is sufficient evidence to suggest that you were engaging in drowsy driving when the crash happened, your insurance may not cover all the resulting damages.
How To Prevent Drowsy Driving
It is often impossible to control what other motorists’ actions. However, doing things right yourself can help you avoid drowsy driving and stay safe on the road.
Here are several tips to avoid drowsy driving:
- Make sure you get adequate rest! The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep every day, whereas teenagers require at least 8 hours.
- Establish good sleeping habits, such as following a sleep routine
- Speak to your doctor about treatment options if you have a sleep issue or symptoms such as feeling sleepy during the day
- Avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol or any sleep-inducing drugs or medication.
- If you notice you are feeling sleepy while on the wheel, look for an immediate opportunity to stop the car and take a nap.
Given the prevalence of sleeping problems among people in the United States, greater public awareness of drowsy driving is necessary. However, every driver must take a personal initiative to avoid driving while sleepy, fatigued, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.