There is never an excuse for a driver to get behind the wheel without being adequately rested. Drowsy driving crashes are always preventable if the person would just avoid operating a vehicle if they are showing any signs of fatigue.
Unfortunately, people drive while they’re drowsy often. A survey conducted found that around 4% of adult drivers had fallen asleep behind the wheel within the 30 days prior to the accident. Each one of those incidents had the potential to turn fatal. It’s estimated that thousands of crashes can be attributed to drowsy drivers each year.
Causes of drowsy driving
There are many reasons for fatigue while driving. The most common of these is that the driver didn’t sleep enough before getting on the road. It can also come from driving long hours, which is one reason why truckers have Hours of Service regulations that limit the number of hours they can drive on the road per shift.
Driving in hot conditions, highway hypnosis, and driving on familiar roads can also lead to fatigued driving. It’s possible that a person might have a medical condition that causes them to become drowsy. Some prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as illegal drugs, can also contribute.
Signs of drowsy driving
Nodding off while you drive is a sign that it’s time to pull over. You should also do this if you notice that you can’t remember the past few miles of the trip or if you’re blinking more than usual. Hitting the rumble strips is another sign.
Even dozing off for a few seconds is long enough to be devastating. If your vehicle is moving at 55 miles per hour, it will go the length of a football field in five seconds. That’s a considerable distance in which a crash can occur from a very short doze.
Many people think that turning to coffee or getting fresh air might help to combat fatigue. The fact is that only getting some sleep is going to work. Any driver who is fatigued should pull over as quickly as they can to get some sleep. Avoiding medications and other substances that will cause fatigue is also beneficial.
For people who are struck by fatigued drivers, the option of seeking compensation might come into the picture. This is a way for them to reduce their own financial liability in the crash by transferring that aspect of the incident to the drowsy driver.