In a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2009, it was found that as many as 1.9 million drivers have been involved in a collision or a near-crash due to driver fatigue. Even more surprising, the poll discovered that about 54 percent of motorists drove while drowsy at least once and about 28 percent of drivers operate a vehicle while tired at least once a month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently found that there are about 56,000 sleep-related collisions that occur annually across the country. These crashes resulted in about 40,000 injuries and about 1,550 traffic fatalities.
We at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Given that driver fatigue is among the top causes of Connecticut crashes, these statistics are frightening. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car crash, which was caused by a tired driver, you may be able to pursue compensation for losses related to the accident. For more information on fatigued driver crashes, complete the Free Case Evaluation form of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.
Driver Fatigue: What To Know
While getting behind the wheel of a car when tired may not seem extremely dangerous, the implications of fatigued driving can be serious and sometimes deadly. It only takes a moment of reduced awareness to cause a collision. Research has shown that being awake for over 20 hours is equivalent to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, the legal limit across the country. Similar to alcohol impairment, fatigued drivers have slower reaction time, decreased awareness and impaired judgment. However, unlike an awake driver who has consumed alcohol, a driver who falls asleep at the wheel does not have the opportunity to take actions necessary to avoid a collision.
The early hours of the morning and the middle of the afternoon are the peak times for fatigue-related crashes. Oftentimes, exhaustion can affect your driving ability long before you even realize that you are tired. Occupations that run a high-risk of fatigue-related accidents include night-shift workers, airline crews, students, commercial drivers, medical staff, sales representatives and journalists. These jobs can sometimes force people to work odd hours, causing them to be on the road during a time that the body feels it should be resting.
Warning Signs Of Fatigue
If you experience any of the following symptoms while driving, you are advised to pull over in a safe place to address your condition:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking or heavy eyelids.
- Trouble keeping your head up.
- Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven.
- Excessive yawning.
- Feeling restless, irritable or aggressive.
- Missing exits or traffic signs.
- Drifting, swerving or tailgating.
Fatigued driver accidents are preventable. If you know that you are going to be driving, there are steps that you can take in order to ensure that you do not cause a motor vehicle crash and arrive at your destination safely.
- Most adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night to maintain proper alertness, so it’s important to get a good night’s sleep before getting on the road.
- Driving alone for long distances increases your likelihood of being involved in a collision caused by exhaustion. If possible, take a passenger along for the ride. Not only can they help to identify warning signs of fatigue, but they can also take a turn at driving.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or taking medications that have sedation-type side effects.
- If you feel that you are in danger of falling asleep behind the wheel, pull over to a safe location and take a quick power nap. A 15 to 20-minute nap can help you to feel more refreshed and alert when you get back on the road.
- When going on a long road trip, pack a cooler with caffeinated drinks or keep gum and mints handy. However, it is important to realize that caffeine intake does not replace proper sleep. It only temporarily delays its onset.
- If possible, avoid driving at times where you would typically be sleeping.
- Stop and stretch every two hours or every 100 miles.
- Allow yourself enough time to reach your destination so that you do not feel rushed. It’s important to allow yourself enough time to stop if you start to feel tired.
Contact Our Lawyers After An Accident
If you or a loved one was involved in a fatigue-related accident, you may be able to pursue legal recourse by filing a Connecticut auto accident claim. You may be able to recover losses from medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the crash. For more information on the legal rights, which may be available to victims of accidents caused by driver fatigue, complete our Free Case Evaluation form to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. To reach us, call our toll-free number (800-PERKINS) or send an email.