One of the most alarmingly increasing causes of car accidents is drowsy driving. Whether the driver is an early-morning commuter, late-night drivers heading home, or road travelers, drivers often fall asleep while they are behind the wheel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 4,000 people injured every year in fatigued-driving crashes. Almost 1,000 of those victims do not survive their injuries. All it takes is seconds for a driver to nod off while driving for horrific tragedy to occur.
- Consequences of Drowsy Driving
- Alarming Facts about Drowsy Driving
- Will New Technology Decrease Drowsy Driving Crashes?
The most dangerous – and fatal – type of fatigued driving is referred to as microsleep. Microsleep is short, seconds lapse of consciousness. If a vehicle is traveling at 55 mph when a driver experiences microsleep, the vehicle would travel the length of a football field in those brief few seconds the driver is dozing. Keep in mind, that while that vehicle is traveling those 100 yards, there is no one control, no one watching out for other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians. No one in control to slow the vehicle down or stop it when necessary.
How to Prevent Fatigued Driving
The high number of annual drowsy driving crashes – 9,000 – reveal a crisis is taking place on our nation’s roads. That number is only increasing each year. This has led many vehicle safety advocates to get the word out about how we can decrease the number of fatigue driving crashes, with the goal of eliminating them completely.
Make sure to get enough sleep: Medical experts recommend adults get at least six to eight hours of sleep each night in order to function at a high level. Unfortunately, many people do not get nearly enough sleep on a regular basis. If a person fails to get the proper amount of sleep on a consistent basis, they will likely suffer from fatigued driving, putting themselves and everyone in danger.
Carpool: In many fatigued driving crashes, the driver is alone in the vehicle. It has been shown that when a driver is traveling with someone in the vehicle with them, the passenger often helps the driver recognize the signs of fatigue. Having someone to converse with while driving can also help keep the driver alert and awake.
Pull over: If a driver feels fatigued while they are driving, safety advocates recommend that driver take a break from their driving. Stop somewhere for a coffee or quick bite to eat can help refresh the driver. This can greatly increase the driver’s awareness when they get back on the road. Remember, no matter how much of a hurry you are in to get to your destination, it is never worth risking your life and those of other commuters if you are not fully alert and focused on the road.
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy or fatigued driver, contact a skilled Virginia car accident attorney to find out what type of legal action you may be able to take against the driver who caused the accident. Your personal injury attorney can negotiate directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company in getting out the best financial outcome available, or if necessary, can also bring the case forward for litigation if the insurance company’s offer is unfair.