Driver fatigue appears to be the cause of a deadly crash in the 1500 block of Highway 73 in Lincoln County Wednesday morning. According to law enforcement reports, a Dodge Ram was traveling west when it crossed over the center lane and crashed head-on into a Ford Focus traveling east. The driver of the Ford died at the scene and three passengers in the vehicle suffered serious injuries. One victim was flown to Carolinas Medical Center and the other two were transferred by ambulance. One of the victims – a 16-year-old honor student – was listed in critical condition.
The driver of the pickup was uninjured. He was heading home for the Thanksgiving holiday when he fell asleep at the wheel and crossed over into the lane of the other vehicle. Another witness reported that seconds before the crash, the pickup almost hit his vehicle, but instead slammed into the car behind him.
According to national statistics, drowsy driving is responsible for approximately 20 percent of all fatal accidents each year, however, many safety advocates believe this number is much higher because many at-fault drivers don’t admit to it. And surveys tend to back that up as more than 30 percent of drivers admit to driving while drowsy.
Drowsy and fatigued driving is a dangerous issue all year long, but during the holiday season, experts say drivers are more susceptible due to the hectic schedule that many of us keep during this time of year. Many people work late, shop late, do more socializing, as well as all the preparations that go into the holidays than we do the rest of the year. This often means lack of sleep, but also more time on the roads.
Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, causing slow reaction time and poor judgment. The driver can also have a difficult time processing information and tend to exhibit more signs of moodiness and aggressiveness on the road. All this adds up to a bad combination for being on the road.
Signs that you may be too tired to be behind the wheel include:
- Daydreaming, having wandering thoughts;
- Drifting from your lane;
- Feeling restless, irritable or aggressive;
- Missing exits and signs;
- Poor judgment;
- Slower reaction time;
- Trouble focusing;
- Trouble keeping your eyes open or your head up;
- Turning up the radio or rolling down the window; and
- Yawning or rubbing your eyes repeatedly.
Contact a Carolinas Injury AttorneyDespite the safety precautions we may take as drivers, there is always the risk of other drivers who fail to follow safe driving behaviors. If you have been injured in a crash caused by a negligent or reckless driver, contact a North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have. Our legal team has helped numerous clients just like you get the financial compensation they deserve.