The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Note: This was featured as part of our Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge with Box in the Morning. You can catch us every other Wednesday morning at 8:50 am ET for the latest law tips and legal news. You can listen to the segment below:
In honor of Drive Safely To Work Week, we want to discuss an serious driving danger: falling asleep at the wheel. Nearly 84 million American drivers are sleep deprived and cost society $109 billion in medical injuries. An estimated 5,000 people were killed in car crashes caused by driver fatigue in 2015 . Read on for warning signs to watch out for, suggestions for sleep deprived drivers, and information about court cases involving drowsy driving. Always remember: it’s better to arrive alive than on time.
Warning signs to watch for:
After driving for hours on end, it’s easy to convince yourself to just keep the wheels rolling. Impatient drivers want to reach their destination. However, it’s time to pull off the road if you are yawning constantly, rubbing your eyes, hallucinating, struggling to concentrate, or having difficulty keeping your head up.
Be sure to read the labels on any medications you take before getting behind the wheel, and don’t travel at night unless it’s an emergency. Untreated sleep disorders can strike a driver who is trying to pull an all-nighter.
What to do if you’re exhausted while driving:
If you begin to exhibit any signs of driver fatigue, immediately look for a safe place to pull over. Aim for the nearest rest stop or a well-lit parking lot and search for the nearest hotel. Consider downloading travel apps like Hotel Tonight and Waze before embarking on your next road trip.
Don’t hesitate to check into a hotel or switch drivers if you’re struggling to stay awake. If there are no available hotels, sleeping in your car is a better alternative to causing an accident. Pull into a safe location, lock your doors, and take a much-needed nap.
How is drowsy driving prosecuted?
An astounding one third of U.S. drivers have fallen asleep while driving. In the eyes of juries, drowsy driving is as dangerous as alcohol intoxication. Although defendants argue they caused the accident involuntarily, a judge will likely charge them with reckless conduct instead of unavoidable carelessness.
In a cross-examination, the prosecution will question why you failed to choose any alternatives besides staying on the road and injuring another driver. Avoiding a collision was as simple as pulling into a nearby gas station, the court may conclude. Never keep driving if you feel fatigued.
At John Price Law Firm, we represent victims of motor vehicle accidents, personal injuries, on-the-job injuries, medical negligence, and employment discrimination. Let us fight for you: contact our team today for a legal consultation.