Driving While Fatigued
We have all driven while tired at some point. Maybe we had to get up early to go to work. Maybe we are coming home late from a concert or night at a bar. Some truck drivers are behind the wheel from sun up to sun down as they try to meet deadlines.
Driving while fatigued, however, is a serious issue. It can cause a person to lose focus or even fall asleep, causing deadly car accidents. In fact, it is estimated that drowsy driving causes roughly 6,000 fatal car accidents every year. It is often caused by a lack of sleep, although alcohol use, certain medications, shift work and untreated sleep disorders can also cause someone to feel fatigued while behind the wheel. Those who don’t get at least six hours of sleep per night are more likely to fall asleep while driving than those who get enough rest.
Even if you don’t fall asleep at the wheel, drowsiness can lead to unsafe driving. It can make you less attentive so you may not be able to avoid road hazards and car accidents. It also slows down reaction time, making you less likely to react quickly in an emergency.
Believe it or not, a lack of sleep is about as dangerous as being drunk. If you are awake for 18 hours straight, it is like having a blood alcohol level of .05. If you have been awake for 24 hours, it is like having a blood alcohol level of .10, which is considered legally drunk. There is a difference though. Drunk drivers will often drive slowly and try to react, while fatigued drivers can fall asleep while going fast. In any case, both situations are very dangerous.
It is important to be aware of the signs that you are feeling fatigued and should pull over and rest as soon as possible. They include the following:
- Frequent yawning
- Missing your exit
- Difficulty remembering where you have driven
- Drifting from your lane.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent drowsy driving. The most obvious thing you can do is get more rest. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night. This can be easy if you stick to a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. If you feel tired all the time, you may have a sleep disorder. Get checked out by your doctor and get treated for any sleep issues. Be wary of taking certain medications before driving. If you take prescription drugs, drowsiness may be a side effect. Avoid drinking alcohol before driving, as it can make you sleepy as well.
Seek Help for Your Car Accident Case
You may think nothing of yawning while behind the wheel or driving late at night, but driving while fatigued can lead to serious accidents. In many cases, it is like being intoxicated.
The Dade City & Zephyrhills auto accident attorneys at Madonna Law Group can help you with your car accident case, no matter how it occurred. To schedule a consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call (800) 557-0411.