Just as it is dangerous for a person to drive while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, falling asleep at the wheel can lead to car accidents, serious injuries, and wrongful deaths. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were a reported 795 fatalities and 91,000 motor vehicle crashes linked to drowsy driving in 2017. There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute toward driver fatigue, and victims injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver may be able to recover financial compensation for their pain and suffering, medical care, and property damage.
How Does Drowsiness Affect a Motorist?
When a person gets behind the wheel, he or she should be able to fully concentrate on the road, as split-second decisions often have to be made. A driver who is sleepy or feeling the effects of fatigue is likely to experience impairment to their motor functions and cognitive skills, including:
Decreased reaction time and reflexes
Flawed or impaired vision
Lack of awareness of road conditions and other vehicles
Reduced hand-eye coordination
People who are tired may also exhibit a number of aggressive driving behaviors (speeding, tailgating, sporadic lane changes, etc.) in order to reach their desired destination more quickly. As a person becomes more fatigued, it is likely that his or her ability to operate a vehicle safely will continue to decrease.
What Can Cause Drowsy Driving?
According to a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 4 percent of the 150,000 participants reported that they had fallen asleep at the wheel within the previous 30 days. Although anyone can experience this problem, certain factors and occupations can contribute to drowsy driving. For instance, a motorist may be more likely to drive while drowsy if he or she:
Operates a vehicle for a living (such as a commercial truck)
Works long shifts or unusual hours
Was diagnosed with an untreated sleep disorder
Uses medication that can cause sleepiness
Has consumed alcohol
Although drowsy driving is more likely to occur at night, it is important to remember that it can happen at any time of the day. You can keep an eye out for fatigued motorists by remaining aware of unsafe driving techniques and taking action to avoid these drivers. For example, a vehicle that is drifting in between lanes or steering onto a rumble strip may be a potential danger, and by increasing the distance between your car and this vehicle, you can avoid an accident if the driver behaves unexpectedly.
Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Attorney
Drowsy driving is a serious issue that affects the safety of everyone on the road. If you or a family member have been injured because of the negligent actions of a person who was driving while fatigued, it is imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for costly medical bills or lost wages. At Barrington Injury Attorneys, our knowledgeable Barrington car accident lawyers can evaluate your case and help determine the best course of action you can take to recover the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 847-381-8700.