Though the average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep, few can accomplish this feat. As such, it’s not uncommon for sleep-deprived drivers to get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation and drowsy driving increase the likelihood of being involved in an accident. Police in New York State reported 2,273 personal injury and fatal crashes in 2018 and according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 55% of drowsy driving accidents involve those under 25 years old. If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver who was asleep or drowsy behind the wheel, knowing how to proceed is crucial. The following blog covers the dangers and signs of drowsy driving and explores how a Rochester car accident lawyer can help if you’ve been injured in a collision with a sleepy driver.
Why Is Drowsy Driving So Dangerous?
Unfortunately, many do not understand the dangers of driving while exhausted. It’s important to understand that driving drowsy is like driving as if you were under the influence of alcohol. The more tired a driver is, the worse their reaction time and awareness are. As such, they are less likely to avoid hazards or react to changes in traffic patterns, other drivers, and signals on the roadway. It’s believed that a driver who gets behind the wheel after twenty hours with no sleep is equivalent to a driver operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08%, which is above the legal limit of .05% in New York State.
One of the most dangerous aspects of driving occurs when a driver falls asleep behind the wheel. In many instances, drivers experience microsleeps, which are brief periods of unconsciousness. Though these only last seconds at a time, any amount of time a driver is unconscious can lead to a collision.
What Are the Signs of Sleep Deprivation When Driving?
Understanding the signs of sleep deprivation is crucial to protecting yourself and others when on the road. Some indicators include:
- Continual yawning
- Feeling like you can’t keep your eyes open
- Nodding off
- Straying out of your lane
- Missing exits
- Failure to remember the previous few miles
If you experience any of these signs, you should pull over in a safe area and rest before getting back on the road. Rolling down the windows or playing your music louder is not enough to help prevent you from falling asleep.
How Should I Proceed if I’m Injured by a Drowsy Driver?
If you were in an accident and believe the driver was asleep when the collision occurred, taking the proper steps to protect yourself is crucial. You should contact authorities as soon as an accident occurs to ensure a report is filed. The other driver may have apologized and stated they were tired or just ended a long shift. You may be able to use this as evidence later.
When you sustain injuries, retaining the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial. They can help ensure the information you gathered at the scene is taken into consideration to fight for the compensation you deserve for the damages you’ve suffered.
At Lacy Katzen, we understand that pursuing compensation can seem daunting. However, our dedicated team is ready to fight for the funds you deserve when you are involved in an accident. Contact our firm to learn how we can assist you.