The most commonly talked about driving hazard is drinking. Drunk driving billboards and police threats are staples alongside every highway in America. Recently, hazards associated with texting and driving have also gained in popularity, largely because of legislative debate regarding its legality. Not many people speak about the risks associated with fatigued driving; however, sleepy drivers are a serious threat, not only to their own safety, but also to anyone unfortunate enough to be in their proximity.
Symptoms of Fatigue
Drivers are most susceptible to fatigue when driving long distances at night. Driving along interstates that are quiet can lull drivers into an overly-relaxed state. Additionally, eye strain may make focusing or keeping eyes open difficult. Indications that a driver may be suffering from fatigue include:
– Difficulty focusing
– Slow blinks, or blinking excessively
– Unintended lane drifting
– Failure to abide by traffic laws, such as red lights or warning signs
– Memory failure
If you are suffering from driving fatigue, do not continue driving, as it may lead to a serious or fatal accident.
According to reports gathered from across America, driver fatigue is responsible for approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,500 deaths are annually. Additionally, these accidents cause an estimated $12.5 million in property damage and other financial losses.
Generally, these accidents occur whenever a sleepy driver careens off of the road into a ditch or oncoming traffic. Accidents which occur because of fatigue are generally quite serious, as the vehicle may be out of the driver’s control for a substantial amount of time.
There are a number of safe alternatives to driving fatigued. If you are driving alone, exit the highway and get out of your car. Stretch and move around. Frequently, this will help you re-energize. If this does not help, and you are still suffering from fatigue, you may want to consider a caffeinated beverage or energetic music. If you need to sleep, rent a cheap room overnight. If you are driving with another passenger, take turns driving. When one person is driving, the other can sleep.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident and you suspect that it was caused by a fatigued driver, they may be liable for any damages you sustained, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage.