When a driver is sleep-deprived, their reaction time is slowed down. They may not be able to hit their brakes as quickly, and they may not be able to swerve out of the way of obstacles before a crash.
As a result, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently included drowsy driving in their definition of impaired driving.
The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a report stating that the number of crashes caused by drowsy driving each year is 328,000 on average. Additionally, nearly 5,000 people were killed in accidents caused by drowsy driving in 2015.
How to prevent drowsy driving
It is important to stay aware of your sleep habits and take note when you are too tired to drive. If you feel yourself getting tired behind the wheel, stop for some coffee, a soda or even a glass of water. When driving long-distances, you can use a rest stop to stretch your legs or take a quick nap in your car. Even if you are in a hurry, these small steps can help you avoid a potential accident.
After an accident with a drowsy driver
If another driver is drowsy and it causes an accident, you may be able to hold them accountable. You can work with a lawyer to bring a personal injury lawsuit. In this type of lawsuit, you can pursue damages from the negligent driver to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and other out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, you may be able to get damages for the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident.