If asked to define dangerous driving, many of us would cite driving under the influence of alcohol, driving at an excessive rate of speed, or texting behind the wheel. But one common form of dangerous driving that people tend to ignore is drowsy driving. Drowsy driving, or driving while sleepy or fatigued, can be just as dangerous as any other form of negligent driving, as it plays a role in approximately 100,000 police-reported accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2017, the NHTSA found that 795 people died in accidents related to drowsy driving.
Preventing Drowsy Driving Accidents
The NHTSA says that many drowsy-driving accidents occur in the late afternoon or between midnight and 6 a.m., when people experience a dip in their circadian rhythms, so it is best to avoid driving during these times if at all possible. You should also make sure to get an adequate amount of sleep the night before (between 7 to 8 hours). If you start to feel tired, have a cup of coffee and pull over to take a nap at a rest stop or in another safe place. Keep in mind however, that the effects of caffeine or short naps will not last long and can result in micro sleeps, where you may lose consciousness or focus for a few seconds. A few seconds is more than enough time for a devastating accident to occur.
I was injured in a drowsy driving accident. What should I do?
If another driver fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed into your vehicle, you can file a negligence claim against them to recover compensation. By driving while fatigued, the driver has breached a duty owed to you and other people on the roadways by failing to operate their vehicle safely. Police reports, eyewitness testimony, and expert testimony from an accident reconstructionist can help establish that the driver dozed off behind the wheel and/or failed to follow other traffic laws.
In addition to proving the driver’s negligence, you will need to show that their negligence caused your accident and that you suffered injuries and/or damages as a result. Expert testimony from medical professionals, testimony from loved ones, and medical records can be useful to establish the nature and extent of your injuries.
Drowsy driving in Texas can lead to devastating accidents and serious injuries. If you have been injured in a drowsy driving accident, a personal injury attorney can help file your claim against the negligent driver responsible for your accident.