When it comes to preventable car accidents, a lot of attention is given to distracted and drunk driving. While these forms of negligent driving are more common and dangerous than many people realize, they are far from the only forms of errant driving that put motorists at risk. In fact, drowsy driving can prove to be just as deadly.
The risks posed by driving tired
Fatigued driving is extremely common. In fact, one study found that approximately half of U.S. motorists admit to consistently taking to the road in a tired fashion. A staggering 20% of those studied admitted to having fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in the past year. It’s this type of driving that has led to thousands of preventable deaths and injuries every year, leaving families utterly devastated.
But how, exactly, does being tired while behind the wheel affect your driving ability? Here are just a few ways:
- Reaction time is slowed, making it harder for a driver to brake in time for slowed or stopped traffic
- Awareness of situational hazards is decreased
- Judgment is impaired, which can lead to poor decision-making
- Coordination decreases, thereby making it difficult for a driver to stay in his or her lane and utilize the gas and brake pedals properly
- Decision-making skills are inhibited, such as when a tired driver fails to accurately gauge the speed of oncoming traffic when making a left turn
- Attention is dulled, which may cause a driver to fail to recognize and important traffic signal such as a stop light or stop sign
Any one of these shortcomings can pose a significant danger on the road, and far too often, innocent motorists are left to pay the price.
The damages caused by fatigued driving
The harm caused by tired driving can be extensive, too, as victims are oftentimes left overwhelmed by medical expenses and rehabilitation costs that can last for years or even decades to come. Serious car accidents can knock an individual out of work for a significant period of time as well, which means that their financial stability can be disrupted to a severe extent. We’ve seen far too many families struggle to make ends meet solely because they were involved in a car accident.
But the damages don’t stop there. Physical pain and suffering can be nearly unbearable and last for a significant period of time. Sometimes accident victims are unable to fully stop the ongoing pain to which they are subjected. Accident injuries can also disrupt a victim’s enjoyment of life. It can prevent them from engaging in the activities that they once loved, and they might be rendered unable to play with their children. These losses are the most heartbreaking, and ones that are certainly worth fighting for.
Hold negligent drivers accountable
Tired driving and the dangers associated with it are entirely preventable. That’s why if you or a loved one has been harmed in one of these wrecks, then now may be the best time to discuss your case with a legal professional. By doing so, you may be able to gather the evidence and craft the compelling legal arguments that you need to recover compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Additionally, successful legal action in these circumstances can help further raise awareness of the dangers of tired driving, which may protect other drivers on the road.
If you’d like to learn more about how a legal professional may be able to help you in this regard, consider reaching out to a professional who is experienced in this area of the law and has a track record of success to discuss the matter further.