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How does fatigued driving lead to car accidents?

fatigued driving man with eyes closed behind the wheel

The body has a biological need for sleep and when that need is ignored, it takes a physical and mental toll on an individual. It is recommended that everyone gets at least seven hours of sleep per night. However, many individuals have difficulty maintaining healthy sleeping habits. When an individual does not get adequate sleep, they are at a high risk of driver fatigue. Fatigued driving is a serious hazard on the road as it is considered a form of impaired driving. Sleep deprivation behind the wheel is extremely dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 100,000 fatigued driving accidents are reported annually, and of those collisions, 800 fatalities and 50,000 injuries occur. This is because driving while drowsy is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident as a result of a fatigued driver, contact one of our seasoned Car Accident Attorneys In Prince George’s County, Maryland, and continue reading to learn about the dangers of sleep deprivation behind the wheel.

What is fatigued driving?

Fatigued driving is the operation of a vehicle while cognitively impaired by a lack of sleep. Fatigued driving is often the result of driving for many hours without rest or not getting quality sleep.ย Anyone who does not get sufficient sleep is at risk of driver fatigue. However, the most susceptible to driver fatigue are commercial truck drivers as their profession requires them to travel for many consecutive hours without rest. Research has proven that driving for 20 or more hours is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% (the legal limit). Fatigued driving is particularly dangerous because sleep deprivation impairs a motorist’s critical driving abilities needed to safely operate a vehicle. If a motorist’s cognition is impaired their reaction time is severely hindered. Essentially, this means motorists will have enough time to adapt to changing road conditions and hazards. In addition, if a motorist lacks sleep, their judgment and ability to concentrate on the road are impacted. This could lead to motorists losing control of their vehicles and drifting into different lanes which could cause serious collisions. Ultimately, sleep deprivation is exceedingly dangerous because it has similar effects to inebriation.

Furthermore, motorists need to understand the signs and symptoms of fatigue to prevent fatigued driving. The following are common symptoms that are indicative of fatigued driving:

  • Difficulty keeping their heads up
  • Difficulty keeping their eyes open
  • Frequent yawning
  • Difficulty maintaining their speed
  • Difficulty following road signs
  • Missing turns
  • Difficulty remembering the last few miles they drove
  • Difficulty remaining in their lane
  • Experiencing short-sleep episodes

The symptoms listed above are common symptoms that indicate driver fatigue. If a motorist is feeling fatigued, they must find a safe place to pull over and rest before continuing to drive. Those that engage in the unsafe driving practice of fatigued driving put everyone including themselves at risk.

If you have been injured in a car accident as a result of a motorist’s negligence, please don’t hesitate to speak with one of our determined and dedicated attorneys. Victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim against a negligent party. Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long. Contact us today so we can help you file a claim within the right time frame to ensure you have an opportunity to seek reasonable compensation for your damages.

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