The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides data that shows that each year, more than 100,000 reported car accidents are a direct result of drivers who fall asleep while driving. This means that sleeping while driving has become a deadly statistic, resulting in thousands of car accidents each year in the United States. In fact, according to the NHTSA, one in every six car accidents resulting in fatalities is caused by a fatigue-impaired driver. This data becomes even more surreal once you compare the rate of drunk driving, which is one in every three accidents that lead to death.
These Signs Say You Need to Rest
Before you get into a car, knowing the signs that you are too tired to drive can save your life. Moreover, you can ensure you won’t endanger anyone else on the road. Symptoms of sleep deprivation include:
- Difficulty focusing, heavy eyelids and frequent blinking
- Daydreaming or disconnected thoughts
- Trouble remembering how far you’ve driven; missing exits or street signs
- Constant yawning, rubbing eyes
- Trouble keeping your head upright
- Lane drifting, tailgating or swerving onto the shoulder
- Feeling overly restless or irritable
Who Is at Risk?
Every driver on the road has a legal obligation to drive safely while looking out for the well-being of others. This obligation in legal terms is called duty of care. If a driver willingly puts other drivers at risk by ignoring this obligation, they become negligent. If a driver causes an accident because of this neglect, they also become liable for damages caused. Other ways to be considered negligent while driving are;
- Reckless driving
- Disregarding traffic signs and signals
- Texting while driving
- Driving while intoxicated
Liability Facts Related to Accidents Caused by Falling Asleep
Although sleeping while driving is not included on the above list, falling asleep while driving is considered a violation of the legal duty of care. Proving a driver fell asleep while driving becomes difficult, but not impossible. Witness statements and police reports are evidence that can be used to prove a driver was purposely negligent. Unless you have a driver who admits to falling asleep causing an accident, finding evidence to prove this in court is necessary to go forward with a personal injury claim on that basis.
Prevent Falling Asleep While Driving:
There are several steps you can take to prevent yourself from falling asleep while driving. Following these steps can save your life or the lives of innocent victims to your negligence.
- Consider having someone else drive you work late hours, long shifts or just didn’t get enough sleep.
- Use public transportation if you have a sleepless night.
- Take medication restrictions and labels seriously. If you are on medication and the label has a warning to not “operate heavy machinery” this means a vehicle as well as a forklift.
- Watch for warning signs that you are too tired to drive.
- If you begin experiencing drowsiness or fatigue, pull over at the nearest rest stop or parking lot.
Don’t risk an accident due to drowsiness. It isn’t worth the cost.
If you were injured during an accident, you may want to speak to an attorney who can advise you on what your legal options are and how to get adequate compensation for your injuries. Our network of experienced accident attorneys can assist you. Call us at: 855-272-6990.