Key Points of This Article:
- Drowsiness is a leading cause of car accidents.
- It is estimated that a significant number of accidents are related to drowsy driving—more than is actually being reported.
- Signs and symptoms that indicate extreme fatigue and drowsiness
- Drivers who are most at risk of driving while drowsy
- Pursuing personal injury claims involving drowsy driving
Drowsy driving is something that everyone has done at least once in their life, if not more. Fatigue does not discriminate and can affect and impair drivers of all ages and genders. Unfortunately, it is an all too common occurrence.
These days, life is much more fast-paced than it used to be. We’re working long hours to afford the increasing costs of living, staying up late on our phones or other personal devices, watching tv, and still managing to go out and enjoy a thriving social life. Between personal time and work, we are spread thin, and the lack of rest is contributing more and more to drowsy driving accidents.
Drowsy Driving Is a Leading Cause of Accidents
Drowsy and fatigued driving is a major concern for authorities and safety administrations. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 700 deaths occur annually as a result of drowsy driving. An estimated 72,000 crashes total have led to these deaths, with 44,000 individuals sustaining injuries.
The CDC further reports that 1 in 25 adult drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel while driving recently. However, after more in-depth studies were conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, experts believe that the number of accidents involving drowsy driving is significantly higher than what is actually being reported. They believe that drowsy drivers are a much bigger problem than we consider, and the act of driving while fatigued is putting everyone on the road at risk.
Signs and Symptoms of Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
Though driving while tired is certainly not great, it’s not as bad as driving when you are drowsy. Those who are extremely fatigued or impaired by medications that have made them drowsy may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Excessive yawning
- Slowed or impaired thinking
- Limited attention span
- Poor memory
- Weakness and lack of energy
- Irritability and frequent mood swings
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should avoid operating a vehicle. However, if you are already behind the wheel and find that you are: blinking to try and stay awake, drifting into other lanes, nodding your head, or forgetting periods of driving, you should pull over immediately and call for help or find a safe place to rest for a bit.
Who Is Most At Risk of Drowsy Driving?
On average, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep to function. Anyone who is sleep-deprived can be at risk for drowsy driving. However, there are some groups that are more likely to drive while fatigued or be more susceptible to experiencing drowsiness than others.
Those who suffer from sleep disorders or individuals who work long hours have an increased risk of driving while drowsy. New parents who are often up all night with little ones can easily suffer from sleep deprivation as well. Truck drivers that travel long distances to transport goods and materials are also known for driving drowsy.
Additionally, those on medications that cause drowsiness, people who travel a lot for business, and young drivers with busy schedules and erratic sleep habits are all prone to drowsy driving.
Personal Injury Claims Involving Drowsy Driving
As mentioned above, not all accidents related to drowsy driving are reported as such. This is because it is difficult to prove sometimes that drowsy driving was the main cause of the accident.
If you are injured in a car accident and believe the guilty party was driving while drowsy, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Proving fault can be a challenge in any personal injury case, let alone one that involves drowsy driving. Extra work may be necessary to collect evidence to prove that fatigue played a role.
Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyers – Rhoads & Rhoads
If you sustained injuries in a car accident and believe drowsiness is to blame, the team at Rhoads & Rhoads can help win your case and get you the compensation you deserve. We are dedicated to guiding injured victims through the challenging process of personal injury claims and lawsuits.
Call us at 888-709-9329 to schedule an appointment with one of our Madisonville or Owensboro personal injury attorneys. We offer free initial consultations, and all cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, so there is no initial payment required. We get paid only if we win or settle your case, and there is NO RISK involved.