Driver fatigue is one of the main reasons for car crashes on the highway and in traffic. It contributes about 20% of accidents and most of them are fatal especially those that involve speeding cars. A driver who falls asleep cannot brake to reduce impact. Car Crashes involving sleepy drivers are more likely to happen if the driver:
- Drives for long hours on long stretches of road
- Has less sleep than normal
- Drinks alcohol before and while driving
- Takes medication that causes drowsiness
- Works night and day in long shifts
- Is tired most of the time with little to no respite.
What is quite surprising is that drivers can rarely assess how sleepy they are with most overestimating how much sleep they need. However, there are some warning signs that they can look for to determine whether they should pull over or not. These include:
- Zoning out while driving, sometimes for several minutes
- Trouble focusing on the road
- Poor judgment
- Constantly yawning or rubbing tired and itchy eyes.
- Drifting in lanes
- Head nodding
- Difficulty keeping eyes open
If a driver experiences any of these symptoms their driving capabilities have already been compromised. In such cases, they should pull over immediately or find the nearest rest stop. In order to minimize risks of car crashes, drivers should:
- Ensure that they are fit to drive and this means getting a full night’s sleep beforehand
- Plan their journey to get frequent breaks.
- Stop in a safe place to rest if they feel sleepy. The hard shoulder of a motorway is not that place
- Drink coffee or any caffeinated drink beforehand or take a short nap before heading out on the road.
No one is immune to these effects and needs no matter their age and experience. The activity requires focus and a number of mental faculties that can be impaired if the driver is tired. In worse case scenarios you can also fall asleep at the wheel without realizing it. Your body will shut down if it think you need to rest and to avoid that, getting frequent rests is a must.
Long distance commercial drivers are the main victims, but they are not the only ones. Shift workers or those who work extended hours can find themselves on the side of the road or crashing into another vehicle if they doze off. Young and inexperienced drivers as well as business travelers who work late hours are also at risk.
If you have been involved in car crashes, then you have every right to sue for damages. Attorney Javier Marcos can help with that and more. Just give us a call 24 hours and get a free consultation 713.999.4444. No job is worth your life or the life threatening injuries you may experience. Allow us to represent you in court.