At some point, every driver has gotten behind the while he or she was tired. Driving while sleepy or a bit groggy is a very normal behavior, but what most people do not realize is that it is quite dangerous. Fatigued driving may be one of the leading causes of car accidents, but most drivers fail to consider the potentially serious consequences of getting behind the wheel when tired.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving is a major problem. Distracted driving, mostly related to phone use while behind the wheel, gets a lot of attention as a dangerous behavior, but that is not the only issue putting you and your passengers at risk. If involved in a serious accident that resulted in injuries or a fatality, it is quite possible that fatigue was a factor.
What's so bad about being sleepy?
You may not think that fatigued driving is so bad. After all, a driver might be tired, but still have both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. In reality, a fatigued driver can be doing all of the right things, technically speaking, but grogginess and sleepiness can cause that person to experience the following:
- Slower reaction times
- Lack of attention
- Inability to make good decisions
A startlingly high number of drivers admit to falling asleep while behind the wheel. Even a driver who feels that he or she is only moderately sleepy can cause serious accidents.
Who is most vulnerable?
While it is possible that any person could get behind the wheel of a vehicle while dangerously tired, there are certain groups more prone to this, including:
- Commercial drivers
- Shift workers
- People with undiagnosed sleep disorders
- People on certain medications that make them sleepy
No matter the profession or reason for exhaustion, a person is accountable for his or her dangerous actions that place other innocent people in harm's way. If a fatigued driver played a role in your accident, you have grounds to seek compensation through a civil claim.
What should you do if you are a victim?
It can be difficult to prove that a person was too tired to drive safely, and you may assume that you have no legal options after your accident. No matter what you think is possible, you always have the right to know your options and pursue compensation for your pain and suffering. After an accident, it is always wise to seek the legal opinion of an experienced attorney in order to know how you should proceed.