When people drive while they are tired, drowsy or sleepy, this is commonly referred to as “driver fatigue” or drowsy driving. This is one of the top causes of car accidents, since drowsy drivers are unable to adequately perceive, react and respond to situations on the road.
Our firm’s car accident attorneys know that many people drive when they have not had enough sleep. Fatigued car drivers often have a difficult time perceiving and processing information. For instance, a driver may not recognize that he or she has drifted into the wrong lane until it is too late, and a serious car accident happens.
Symptoms Of Drowsy-Driving That Leads To Car Accidents
Driver fatigue can also lead to reduced attention to the road as well as slower reaction rates. In extreme cases, a driver may actually fall into microsleep and briefly lose consciousness on the road. Even a few seconds asleep on the road is the perfect formula for a wrongful death car accident or a wrongful death truck accident.
A number of symptoms that can suggest driver fatigue, such as the following:
- Tired eyes
- Inability to remember directions
- Difficulty concentrating
Drivers who notice one or more of these symptoms starting should pull over to rest and, ideally, get out of the car and stretch. In more extreme cases of driver fatigue, however, the driver may need to pull over, take a nap and rest until the driver feels refreshed and ready to make the rest of the trip. Many major highways provide rest stops for this purpose, and it is important to pull all the way off the highway to rest to avoid automobile accidents with your parked car.
Tips For Avoiding Car Accidents Caused By Drowsy-Driving
As car accident lawyers, we believe it is very important for car drivers to learn auto accident prevention techniques against driver fatigue, for it may save tens of thousands of lives every year:
1. Do not drink and drive (DUI). One major cause of fatigue is alcohol consumption and drunk-driving. Alcohol is a depressant and could make it so a motorists does not even have to be legally drunk to fall asleep at the wheel and cause a car accident. One little drink is enough to induce drowsiness. So before setting off on a long trip, do not drink at all.
2. Get enough sleep the night before. Without seven to eight hours of sleep the night before a long car trip, a motorist is just waiting for fatigue to cause a car accident.
3. Try not to start a trip late in the day. It is best to start about an hour after waking up and getting prepared. This is the period of time when both your mind and your body are most alert.
4. If possible, carpool. Try not to ride alone because passengers can take turns driving and serve as conversation partners to keep you alert and awake. This is a great way to keep the car trip interesting and, at the same time, avoid an unnecessary car accident.
5. Avoid driving an automobile at night. The glare of lights on the dashboard and along highway roads during nighttime driving has been shown to induce hypnosis to some extent and therefore cause driver fatigue.
6. Keep the automobile’s environment stimulating. Turn the car’s temperature down and make it cold if necessary. Also, turn the automobile’s radio volume up, switching stations frequently and avoiding soft, slow music. Do not use the car’s cruise control. Try to make yourself feel involved when driving the automobile which is a great safety tip to avoid a terrible automobile accident.
7. Watch your body posture. Keep your seat back upright, and make sure the driver’s seat is forward enough to keep your legs from extending fully. Also, keep head up and eyes staring straight ahead.
8. Take breaks or switch car drivers at least every two hours. Stop at a gas station, rest stop or a fast food restaurant. Get out, stretch and walk around. Exercise fights fatigue. Keeping your body cramped in the same position for a long time induces sleep, and thus a possible car accident that could have been avoided with this simple safety tip. Also, stop for light meals and snacks. Eating too much could make you drowsy, but not eating would drain your energy.
9. Wear good sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses during the day keeps you from squinting, causing your eyes to get tired and want to close. However, never wear sunglasses when it becomes dark.
10. If all else fails, stop driving and pull over! If you cannot combat the fatigue, then do not try to stay awake. Safely pull off the road, and give in to fatigue. Sleep it off. It is better to be late than get in a terrible wrongful death car accident.
Call Our Lawyers If You’ve Been Injured From Car Accidents Caused By Drowsy-Driving
Our firm’s car accident lawyers understand the dangers of drowsy driving, and have handled numerous cases caused by driver fatigue. Remember the safety tips above so you can meet your relatives in one piece. Safe automobile driving requires the car driver’s full attention and focus. If your eyelids start feeling heavy, your next action may very likely be a life-or-death decision.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was caused by drowsy-driving then call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. Since 1992, our San Diego law office has been geared primarily towards auto accident claims. We know how the insurance companies work, so let our insider knowledge help you in your time of need.