If you have ever gotten behind the wheel while a little sleepy, you are not alone. Every driver has been tired while operating a vehicle at some point, but there is a difference between being a little sleepy and dangerously fatigued. Overly tired drivers can be dangerous drivers, increasing the chance of an accident for every person on the road.
Drowsy driving is a bigger problem than many people think. When you think of dangerous things people do while driving, you probably think about things such as texting, driving drunk or speeding, but you may not think about how dangerous it can be to drive fatigued. In reality, it can slow reaction times and make it more likely that a crash will occur.
The dangers of fatigued driving
In some cases, people are so drowsy that they actually fall asleep behind the wheel. When polled, almost half of all drivers say they’ve been so tired they struggled to stay awake while driving at least once in the past. Estimates suggest that drowsy driving may be responsible for approximately 328,000 crashes each year. Of this number, an average of 6,400 are fatal.
There are certain reasons why being tired and getting behind the wheel is a dangerous combination. Fatigue can have some of the same effects on a person that drugs or alcohol can have. It can slow reaction time, make it difficult to avoid hazards, cause cognition delays and slow down a person’s hand-eye coordination. Like drunk or drugged driving, drowsy driving is completely preventable.
Staying safe when sleepy
Drivers should recognize the signs of fatigued driving. If a person is struggling to keep his or her eyes open or stay in the right lane, it could mean that he or she is too tired to drive safely. If a person cannot remember the last few miles driven or is missing road signs, that is often a sign of fatigue. Each person is responsible for the choices he or she makes while behind the wheel, including making the choice to drive while drowsy.
If you are the victim of an accident caused by a drowsy driver, you have options available to you. It may be possible for you to secure compensation through a personal injury claim. Florida civil justice laws allow people harmed by the negligent or reckless choices of another person to pursue damages and restitution for the pain and suffering they experienced.