When you are driving down a Tampa-area road, you probably do not assume you will be involved in an accident on your way to your destination. However, you are still cautious and careful, making sure that you remain attentive to the rules of the road and the actions of others. Even the best and safest of drivers have little control over the reckless or negligent choices of others, such as the decision to drive while fatigued.
If you listed dangerous behaviors that can cause car accidents, you may be thinking about things such as drunk driving, distraction or speeding. You are likely not thinking about a person being so sleepy that he or she is dangerous behind the wheel. In reality, fatigued driving is a serious safety threat, and it is probably more prevalent than you realize.
What’s the big deal?
Maybe you have been behind the wheel while sleepy before, and you don’t see how this could be dangerous. After all, most people driving would probably say they need to get more sleep at night. There is a distinct difference between being a little tired and being dangerously fatigued. In some cases, fatigue can affect a person’s judgment, vision and physical actions.
It’s easy to underestimate the dangerous nature of fatigued driving. However, a person who is extremely sleepy or deeply fatigued is not able to safely operate a vehicle. In fact, many things that overly tired drivers do are similar to behaviors seen from drunk drivers, such as drifting between lanes or driving at erratic speeds. Fatigue can affect a person in the following ways:
- It can lower a driver’s ability to see hazards on the road.
- It can slow a driver’s reaction time after noticing a hazard.
- Driving after going 20 hours or longer without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a BAC of 0.08%.
- Fatigue can increase the chance of an accident by three times.
These are only a few reasons why fatigue is dangerous. If you became injured in an accident caused by another driver, it is possible you are the victim of fatigued driving. Regardless of why the liable party was acting recklessly, you have the right to pursue appropriate compensation through a civil claim. It may be appropriate to discuss your case with an attorney who can help you proceed through the civil justice system.