Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 at 2:07 am    

Fatigued driving, also referred to as drowsy driving, has become a major concern in the United States. A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that more than a third of Americans have fallen asleep while driving. In addition, 60 percent of the respondents admit they operated a motor vehicle while drowsy during the past year.

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), about 100,000 traffic accidents in the United States each year involve fatigued driving. These fatigued driving accidents result in roughly 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. The annual cost of these accidents is estimated to be $12.5 billion.

Because of the increase rate of fatigued driving, the NHTSA as added fatigued driving to its list of safety improvements for 2016. Driving while drowsy or fatigued is a dangerous form of distracted driving. Consider how difficult it is to remain awake and alert when you are tired. Add the rocking and movement of a vehicle to the mix and remaining alert and awake becomes nearly impossible when you are fatigued.

You can control other distractions by turning off your cell phone and refraining from doing other tasks while driving. However, you may not be able to control your ability to stay awake if you are fatigued.

What Causes Fatigued Driving?

The causes of fatigued driving are as varied as the causes of motor vehicle accidents. Fatigue is often the result of a lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep. If you do not get sufficient sleep, you may be susceptible to fatigued driving. In addition, driving after extreme physical exertion without rest can result in fatigued driving.

Some medical conditions can result in fatigued or drowsy driving. People who do not exercise can often experience fatigue. Also, undiagnosed or untreated medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, may cause fatigue. In addition, certain medications, including over-the-counter medicines, can make a person drowsy. All of the above causes can severely impair a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

The Dangers Of Fatigued Driving

The most dangerous result of fatigued driving is a motor vehicle accident. Driving while you are tired or sleepy can result in you dozing off and losing control of your vehicle. You are putting yourself and all others in danger if you drive while drowsy or tired. Even if you do not doze off, your ability to respond to situations can be severely impaired when you are tired. Judgment ca also be impaired whenever you are drowsy or fatigued. Some studies show that fatigued driving can have the same dangers as drunk driving.

To avoid fatigued driving accidents, you can:

  • Seek treatment for sleep disorders
  • Try to keep the same sleep schedule each night
  • Create a comfortable environment to encourage restorative sleep
  • Limit naps during the daytime
  • Increase your exercise or activity levels
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol with a few hours of bed
  • Manage stress to avoid disruptions in sleep
  • Pay close attention to the side effects of medications

What Should You Do If You Are Injured In A Fatigued Driving Accident?

With many people having busy schedules and hectic lifestyles, the risk of drowsy driving accidents will likely continue to be a real concern in Sacramento and throughout the country. You can take steps to prevent fatigued driving; however, you cannot control what other drivers choose to do. You can only take steps to protect your legal rights in the event of a fatigued or drowsy driving accident.

If you are injured by a fatigued driver, seek medical attention then call a Sacramento accident attorney immediately. Our attorneys know how to handle cases involving fatigued drivers. Call the Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced Sacramento car accident attorney.

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