Unfortunately, negligence exists in many forms. Many situations result in innocent people just like you suffering harm because of someone else’s actions. Among those at the top of the list for causes of car accidents, many of them are the result of driver impairment.
Driver impairment is most often a byproduct of drunk driving, but it’s not the sole cause of negligence on the road. Driver impairment can also come in the form of drowsy driving. Drowsy driving—or falling asleep at the wheel—is one of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States.
One of the most difficult things is proving drowsy driving. With drunk driving, you can have local law enforcement administer a breathalyzer test. Drowsy driving doesn’t show up on blood or breath tests. Instead, you need knowledge of the problems involved that can lead to such a catastrophic situation.
Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving can have some of the same impacts on your body and abilities as drinking and driving. These effects can make it very dangerous for someone who is tired to be on the road. Below, you’ll learn about some of the cognitive and sensory abilities that experience problems because of drowsy driving:
Trouble focusing: Drowsy driving impacts someone’s ability to focus on the road. The driver may experience constant closing of his or her eyes because of the fatigue, making an accident much more likely.
Decision-making issues: Safe drivers give themselves the time to make important decisions on the road and avoid potential dangers. When the driver is drowsy, they don’t make the right decisions, or they make decisions much slower than they should.
Slow reaction time: Drowsy driving makes it difficult for a driver to react in a safe amount of time. It can be difficult to brake when approaching oncoming traffic if the driver is tired, yawning, or closing his or her eyes.
These factors can all increase the risk of an accident occurring. Any driver who operates his or her vehicle while tired is responsible for any harm he or she causes because of the decisions they make.
Drowsy driving also involves a driver who closes his or her eyes often—and for long periods of time. Like distracted driving, removing a driver’s focus from the road for just a few seconds is enough to cause a catastrophic collision and leave many people suffering injuries.
Drowsy Driving: Who Does it and How to Tell
Anybody on the road can be drowsy; however, some people are more common to do so. Recognizing the potential parties who can present unnecessary dangers on the road can help you avoid an accident or know who to hold liable after a crash.
The most common offenders when it comes to drowsy driving include:
Commercial drivers: Anyone who drives for a living can be susceptible to drowsy driving. These individuals often work long hours to meet deadlines, pushing the boundaries of their own fatigue.
Graveyard shift workers: Some people work late night, overnight, and excessively long shifts. These workers are drowsy more often, and their drive home from work can be dangerous in the early hours.
Drivers with sleep disorders: You may not know it, but many people suffer from sleep orders that make it difficult to sleep or make them sleepy suddenly. For instance, sleep apnea can cause someone to be drowsy more often. Similarly, narcolepsy can cause someone to fall asleep out of nowhere.
For you to stay safe on the road, it’s vital to recognize the signs of a drowsy driver. You should look for any driver who seems to be drifting from his or her lane often. You may also notice the driver slowing down and speeding up sporadically.
If you are in a crash with someone who is drowsy, you should pay close attention to their behavior after the crash. Of course, you want to report the accident to your insurance and local authorities. Police officers can help to dictate if a driver is drowsy at the time of the crash.
What to Do Moving Forward
Proving drowsy driving can seem difficult for you to do on your own. You know the signs to look for, but how can you possibly recognize the legal intricacies that go along with this behavior? Your most beneficial next step is to reach out to an attorney who can help you build a strong case.
Any driver who causes you harm because he or she is tired is negligent. You deserve to hold them accountable for their actions and pursue the most favorable outcome possible. You may recover compensation for damages, including medical costs, property damage to your vehicle, lost income, and more.
At The Stewart Law Firm, we have the experience, knowledge, and tenacity to help you navigate the complicated legal process. You shouldn’t have to suffer because someone else’s actions led to you experiencing an injury. We’ll be there to put your best interests first and pursue the justice you need.
Our Austin car accident attorneys go the extra mile with our clients’ rights in mind. You can feel peace of mind knowing our team has your best interests as our top priority. Trust in our team to be your guides when you need it the most.
Call (512) 942-2372 today and speak with a lawyer about your rights. You deserve justice and compensation. We’ll help you seek it. Discuss your options with our team in a free consultation—schedule yours today!