Drowsy driving and its risks

Let’s face it. Life can get busy, chaotic and exhausting. We all find ourselves tired during the daytime hours. Whether it is because we had to stay up late, get up early or had a rough night’s sleep, residents in California and elsewhere are likely to experience drowsiness or fatigue during their waking hours.

Drowsy driving is a growing concern, as many would deem it as dangerous as drunk driving or distracted driving. While falling asleep at the wheel is clearly a dangerous situation, driving while tired also creates many risks.

Drowsiness can make it difficult for drivers to pay attention to the road. It can also cause slow reaction time in situations where a driver may have to brake or steer suddenly. Furthermore, it can impact a driver’s ability to make good decisions while driving.

According to current statistics, it is estimated that 1 in 25 adults age 18 and older have reported that they have fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days. With regard to the impact drowsy driving has on society, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that drowsy driving was the cause of around 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013.

Overly sleepy drivers can be extremely dangerous drivers

You, like many others in California, have probably gotten behind the wheel of your vehicle while a little tired. It’s normal to be sleepy from time-to-time, but there are situations in which a person is too tired to operate a motor vehicle safely. In these cases, an exhausted driver can be an extremely dangerous driver.

There is evidence that drowsiness behind the wheel is a dangerous combination, leading to an increased chance of a car accident. Fatigue can happen for many reasons, and lack of sleep is not the only one. Certain medical conditions, medications and various other factors can cause a driver to either fall asleep behind the wheel or make unsafe decisions while operating a vehicle.

How tired is too tired?

You know that falling asleep behind the wheel is clearly dangerous, but the effects of extreme fatigue can also be very dangerous. When a driver becomes very drowsy, this feeling could impede his or her driving abilities in the following ways:

  • Extreme drowsiness can slow down a driver’s reaction time, making it more difficult to brake in enough time or change lanes effectively.
  • Being too tired can make it difficult to pay adequate attention to the road and other vehicles on the road.
  • Exhaustion can seriously impede a driver’s ability to make good decisions while operating a motor vehicle.

Drowsy driving may be more common than you think. A startlingly high number of people admit to actually falling asleep while driving — as many as one out of every 25. Many factors contribute to the extremely dangerous situation where an exhausted person tries to safely operate a vehicle. Shift workers, new parents and commercial drivers may be more likely to drive while drowsy than other demographics.

If you were hurt in an accident, it is possible that another driver made a mistake and caused you harm because he or she was exhausted. It may seem like an impossible task, but it is possible to hold these negligent drivers accountable for their actions.

What are your rights and options?

Those harmed in car accidents should understand that they may have legal options. Understanding the cause of the crash could help a victim or their loved ones in their personal injury claim. These civil actions could help hold a negligent driver accountable and assist with the recovery of compensation for the damages suffered.

As a victim of the actions of another person, you have the right to pursue financial compensation. You may file a civil claim as a way to obtain damages for your injuries, including your pain and suffering.

You may find it beneficial to first seek an evaluation of your case and explanation of your legal options. You do not have to suffer the aftermath of your drowsy driving accident alone.