According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), nearly one in four adults in the United States say they personally know someone who has fallen asleep behind the wheel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that one in 25 adult drivers self-reports falling asleep every 30 days, and that as many as 6,000 fatal accidents each year could be attributable to drowsy driving.
With drowsy drivers being responsible for tens of thousands of accidents every year, driver fatigue is a serious problem. Yet, many people find it difficult to know when they are too tired to drive.
Signs of Driver Fatigue
According to the NSF, the CDC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following are all potential signs that a driver is too tired to be behind the wheel:
- Hitting a rumble strip or drifting from their lane
- Driving long hours without rest (as is common among commercial truck drivers)
- Failing to maintain a consistent speed, especially on a long, straight rural road or highway
Additionally, the NHTSA notes that drowsy driving crashes are most likely to occur, “between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late afternoon. At both times of the day, people experience dips in their circadian rhythm—the human body’s internal clock that regulates sleep.”
Ways to Avoid Driving While Drowsy
Of course, drowsy driving is 100 percent preventable. Drivers can avoid putting others in harm’s way simply by getting enough sleep or knowing when they need to avoid hitting the road (i.e. after taking a medication that can cause drowsiness). Additionally, individuals who find themselves feeling drowsy on the road should:
- Pull over and take a nap or change drivers
- Stop driving if they have been awake for more than 24 hours
- Take a break and get some caffeine
- Always put safety ahead of trying to get somewhere on time
Due to the fact that drowsy driving accidents can (and should) be prevented, drivers who cause accidents while they are fatigued or asleep behind the wheel can be held legally accountable for accident victims’ losses. Under Florida law, driving drowsy is considered a form of negligence, and drivers who put others in harm’s way need to be held accountable. As in other types of auto accident cases, individuals who suffer severe and permanent injuries in fatigue-related accidents can seek to recover their losses including:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Loss of income (current and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional Trauma
- Loss of companionship, support, society and enjoyment of life
Speak With a Crestview Auto Accident Lawyer in Confidence
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident that you suspect was the result of drowsy driving, it is important that you speak with an attorney about your rights. You may be entitled to financial compensation, but you will need to protect yourself against the insurance companies in order to collect the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing accident victims and their families in Florida. To discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation, please call (850) 682-2757 or inquire online today.