Drinking alcohol. Speeding. Texting. These are the types of factors that come to mind when people think of driver behaviors that may cause crashes. Although often overlooked as potentially dangerous driving behavior, getting behind the wheel while overly tired or fatigued frequently causes accidents with serious consequences.
Understanding the risk associated with driving while drowsy may help people to protect themselves, their passengers and those with whom they share the roads.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsiness may cause driving impairments that affect people’s ability to safely operate their motor vehicles. These potentially hazardous effects include the following:
- Compromised decision-making
- Decreased attentiveness to the road
- Slowed reaction time
Additionally, sleep may come over drivers’ bodies without them knowing, which carries a significant risk of causing motor vehicle accidents.
Increased crash risk
According to the National Safety Council, drowsy motorists have a three-times greater risk of getting into auto collisions than well-rested drivers. Estimates suggest that as many as 328,000 crashes involving drowsy drivers occur each year, costing society $109 billion annually. Steps such as getting enough sleep, checking medication labels and watching for the signs of drowsiness when driving may help people prevent such accidents, as well as the potentially serious injuries or deaths they often cause.
Injuries suffered in drowsy driving wrecks often upend people’s lives, preventing them from doing their everyday activities, keeping them out of work for at least a time and costing them for their medical care. Options exist, however, to recover compensation, which may provide them much-needed support as they recover.