While driving in Dalton, Georgia, perhaps you were in a crash and you found out that the other driver was negligent. It could have been that the driver was drowsy. Some think that fatigue behind the wheel is not so great a danger as, say, drunkenness, but this is not necessarily true. Going without sleep for 20 hours straight is like being at the legal limit for intoxication (a .08 BAC).
The negative effects of drowsiness
Fatigue makes a driver three times more likely to crash. It makes drivers inattentive and prevents them from reacting quickly. When fatigue is really bad, it can lead to four- or five-second bursts of inattention called microsleep. During one of these bursts, a driver on the highway could travel the length of a football field without even being aware of it.
Drowsy driving is to blame for some 328,000 crashes every year in the U.S., according to estimates from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Of these, 109,000 involve some kind of injury, and 6,400 are fatal. As you can see, then, drowsy driving crashes are widespread; it’s just that many go unreported as drivers may lie to the police about their condition.
Solutions for drowsy driving
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night for adults. Sleep is the only real solution to drowsiness, though caffeine can provide a short energy boost and crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure warning, can prevent accidents.
Drivers should also know the symptoms of drowsiness so that they can pull over for a nap when these arise. Symptoms include constant yawning, drooping eyelids, lane drifting and trouble remembering the last few miles that were traveled.
Filing a car accident claim
Many motor vehicle accidents with a drowsy driver can result in catastrophic injuries, such as brain and spine injuries. You deserve compensation for such injuries, but filing a claim can be complex, especially if English is not your native language. This is where legal representation may help. A lawyer may personally look into your case and show you your options for moving forward.