Fatigued driving is more dangerous than people assume
Fatigued driving is fairly common, either because drivers simply haven’t gotten enough sleep or have been on the road too long. An example of this behavior could involve a commercial driver who has a deadline to meet, for example, or a college student who is driving home late at night. But you can certainly find fatigued drivers at any time of day, and it has been estimated that they cause more than 300,000 accidents every year.
However, people often do not realize just how dangerous this activity is. They know that they need sleep, but they don’t pull over. They don’t think it’s really a serious issue or that they’re really going to cause a crash. And that is a big part of the reason that fatigued driving keeps leading to car accidents.
Similar to drunk driving
Perhaps the best way to think about fatigued driving is just to compare it to drunk driving or impaired driving while using illegal drugs. Both of those issues – alcohol and drugs – can harm drivers’ reaction times and make it so they do not properly react to traffic around them. Fatigued driving does the same thing because someone who is not properly alert is going to have a bit of a delayed reaction when traffic slows down, when a light turns red or when something unexpected occurs.
These delayed reactions often mean the difference between safe trips and car accidents. This is especially true when the fatigued driver cannot stop before rear-ending the vehicle in front of them. For instance, a semi-truck that weighs up to 80,000 pounds takes roughly twice as long to stop as a passenger car. A fatigued truck driver who doesn’t start braking soon enough may not be able to avoid a crash.
What should you do next?
Those who have been injured in these accidents need to make sure they know about all the options they have to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other costs. Some of these additional costs could include lost wages, lost earning potential, the cost of ongoing medical care and more.