When the National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll back in 2005, they were shocked to find that 60% of adult drivers admitted to driving while feeling drowsy in the past year and that 37% said they had actually fallen asleep at the wheel.
Statistics taken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration back these numbers up. They estimate that 100,000 crashes every year are directly related to driver fatigue.
However, the number is likely much larger because of how difficult it is to say with certainty that a crash was caused by a sleepy driver. Investigators can only look for signs that suggest that fatigue might have been a factor in the accident – there is rarely any direct evidence. These signs include the lack of skid marks or other evasive maneuvers, and the number of vehicles involved in the accident – driver fatigue crashes often only have one.
These signs of a fatigue-related accident show why driving while tired can be dangerous for not only the driver but also for others on the road.
How Fatigue Impacts Driving
Being tired behind the wheel affects many crucial driving abilities. Most prevalent among them is a decrease in reaction time, as it takes longer for hazardous conditions to get recognized by a tired mind, and even longer for a fatigued driver to turn that recognition into a response. Additionally, fatigue also impacts a driver’s judgment, so how a driver reacts while tired is less likely to be the correct response to a given situation. To make matters worse, being tired also decreases a driver’s vision, including his or her peripheral vision. This makes it more difficult to notice challenging driving situations on the road.
Fatigue also impacts a driver’s attention span, as well as their motivation and ability to stay vigilant on the road. Tired drivers are more likely to “zone out” or get distracted by things that they should not be paying attention to, like things to see on the roadside that have no effect on driving safety.
Lastly, tired drivers are more susceptible to mood swings and aggressive behavior, as they lose their ability to control their emotions. They are more likely to get angry at people for driving too slowly and are more likely to make poor judgments or to have aggressive reactions that can cause accidents.
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we specialize in getting drivers injured in car accidents the compensation that they deserve. We find the driver responsible for the accident, and make sure that they are the ones who make you whole, because they, not you, should be the one paying.
With experience as an insurance attorney, Mike Hancock knows how personal injury cases are defended, and uses this knowledge to vigorously pursue your interests and every dollar that you are owed.