Drowsy driving causes thousands of injuries and deaths each year in the United States. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that about 380,000 accidents each year involve drowsy drivers. According to the NHTSA, drowsy driving accidents resulted in 795 deaths in 2017. From 2013 through 2017, 4,111 people died in accidents involving drowsy driving.
Our Erie car accident lawyers represent individuals and families who have been injured and negatively impacted by a drowsy driver. If you have questions, please contact our office for a free case review.
What Makes Drowsy Driving Dangerous?
When you are sleepy, your driving ability is impaired. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that a drowsy driver is three times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
Fatigued drivers experience impairments in their ability to pay attention, reaction times, and awareness of hazards. Individuals who are fatigued or drowsy are also more likely to fall asleep while driving. Driving after 20 hours without sleep is the same as driving with a BAC level of .08.
The slowed mental and physical functions from being drowsy can increase the risk of a traffic accident.
Drivers with a High Risk of Fatigued Driving
Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle without sufficient sleep can cause a drowsy driving accident. However, some drivers might be at a higher risk of fatigued driving.
Drivers who work swing shifts or night shifts may not get sufficient sleep to avoid fatigued driving. Also, individuals who have sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or take certain medications might be at a higher risk for fatigued driving accidents.
Commercial truck drivers and bus drivers may also be at a higher risk for fatigued driving because of long hours or lack of restful sleep periods. Teenagers are also at risk for drowsy driving. Teenage drivers may not be aware of the dangers of driving without sufficient sleep. They are also busty with school, active social lives, and jobs, which can make them more likely to get insufficient sleep.
Signs of Drowsy Driving
Know the signs of fatigued driving and get off the road as soon as possible if you are fatigued or sleepy. Signs of drowsy driving include:
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Repeatedly blinking
- Head falling forward or backward (nodding off)
- Unable to remember the past few minutes
- Do not remember how you arrived at a location
- Frequent yawning
- Drifting out of your lane of traffic
- Missing turns and exits
- Hitting the rumble strip or running off the road
The best way to fatigued drowsy driving is to get plenty of rest, especially before leaving on a long trip. If you take medication, read the warnings and side effects. Avoid driving if your medication causes drowsiness. On long road trips, share driving with another adult. Avoid consuming alcohol before driving. Always seek prompt treatment for any sleep disorder.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured in a Drowsy Driving Accident?
Follow the normal steps for a traffic accident, including calling the police to report the accident and seeking prompt medical attention. If you notice any of the signs of drowsiness or the other driver makes statements about being tired, make sure to note those details. Try to get photographs of the accident scene and ask witnesses for their contact information.
As soon as possible, contact an Erie car accident attorney for a free case review. While waiting to see an attorney, avoid talking to an insurance adjuster. Anything you say could hurt an insurance claim.
Contact an Erie Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney
If you need help with an accident claim, we are here for you. Call The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to schedule your free legal consultation with an Erie drowsy driving accident lawyer.