Countless factors can impact the safe operation of a car, truck or motorcycle on Texas roads. From distractions to impairment, drivers often lack the focus and attention necessary to ensure a safe trip. Unfortunately, fatigue also plays a significant part in dictating how smoothly a commute will go.
Drowsy driving has been linked to a shocking number of crashes. A study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur each year. That figure is more than three times greater than the police-reported statistic. Based on the data, the study concluded that drowsy driving fatalities are more than 350% over and above the reported figure.
The National Safety Council (NSC) warns that the impact of drowsiness on driving is similar to that of impaired driving:
- Reaction times are slowed.
- The ability to focus deteriorates.
- The ability to recognize hazards decreases.
The NSC also cautions individuals that driving after more then 20 wakeful hours is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08%.
Drivers need to recognize the symptoms of fatigue and properly gauge when they are too tired to drive safely. Common symptoms can include:
- Difficulty maintaining a constant speed
- Difficulty staying in your lane
- Missing turns or missing significant parts of the trip
- Frequent yawning, blurred vision or difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Difficulty keeping your head up
Drivers often think they can overcome these symptoms and reach their destination safely. They will drink coffee, energy drinks or soda for a boost of caffeine. Unfortunately, this sugar rush is short-lived and often precipitates a crash making the driver feel more tired than before.
Drivers who get behind the wheel while fatigued are likely to cause a serious collision resulting in catastrophic injuries. Vehicle occupants can suffer broken bones, head trauma or spinal cord damage. If you were injured or you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drowsy driver, it is wise to seek the counsel of a skilled legal professional. Learn more about your options for monetary compensation through a personal injury claim.