Everyone has gotten behind the wheel when tired – in some cases, you may even be guilty of falling asleep briefly behind the wheel. It is not surprising, then, that one out of four drivers in the United States have said that they have driven once (or more) when they are so tired they could not keep their eyes open. This is a serious hazard on the roads, because multiple studies have already proven the dangers of drowsy driving. When you are tired, it impacts your vision, thinking, motor skills, and severely slows your reaction time. One study by AAA found that drowsy driving was a factor in up to 11.6 percent of fatal accidents in the U.S.
Another study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that 4.2 percent of surveyed drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once in the last month. This could be higher, because those who are too tired often do not realize they have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Drivers will do what they can to combat tiredness, such as drinking coffee, opening their windows, turning on music, or running the A/C. But, there are only two ways to prevent drowsy driving: Switching drivers, or pulling off to the side of the road until you are rested enough to safely proceed.
What are the Symptoms of Drowsy Driving?
Everyone feels tired once in a while, and being tired is not necessarily drowsy driving. But, if you feel any of the following, you should pull off to the side of the road immediately:
- Excessive blinking
- Spacing out
- Hitting road strips
- Drifting out of your lane
- Yawning excessively
If you notice any of these symptoms, pull off the side of the road immediately and rest. If you have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, you should talk with your doctor about driving.
Drowsy Driving is a Form of Negligence
Drivers who choose to drive, despite being overtired, are considered negligent. When they cause an auto accident because of that negligence, they are liable for the damages caused from that accident. This can include everything from medical bills to property damage or death.
Were You Injured by a Drowsy Driver?
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident and seriously injured by a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation under New York law. You will need to file a personal injury claim, but before doing so, you must speak with an attorney who has experience in auto accident injury cases. Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. can assist you with your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.