Auto Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue
Many people use fatigue and tiredness interchangeably, but medically, they are two very different events. A good night’s sleep will solve the tiredness, but with fatigue, you likely still feel tired even after you sleep. If you feel as if you don’t have the energy you usually have, and your whole body feels tired, you may be fatigued. Additionally, chronic fatigue can last from days to weeks—or longer. Finally, fatigue often prevents you from functioning normally, and likely affects your life quality. Read on to learn how driver fatigue can lead to a potentially deadly auto accident in need of you contacting a skilled car accident attorney.
Causes of Fatigue
One or more things can cause you to become fatigued, including:
- Medications that cause you to be drowsy;
- Sleep disorders;
- Staying away for many consecutive hours;
- Long periods of inactivity;
- Your body’s sleep/wake cycle throughout the day;
- Monotonous tasks; and
- Too little sleep over multiple days.
Other health issues could cause fatigue, including illnesses that drain your energy, such as the flu and coronavirus, and health issues, such as cancer.
How to Know if You Suffer From Fatigue While Driving
Those who drive while fatigued usually have at least one of these reactions, though most have more than one:
- You nod off while you are driving;
- You make poor decisions;
- You drift in and out of your lane;
- You react slowly to other drivers and pedestrians;
- You react slowly to changes in road conditions;
- You can’t remember driving the last few miles;
- You actually fall asleep for a fraction of a second up to 30 seconds; and
- You get tunnel vision.
Many of these events are also signs of being tired, but getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t stop you from experiencing them.
Avoid Becoming Fatigued
If you work a lot or are otherwise always on the go, you can avoid becoming fatigued by taking these steps:
- Make sure you get enough sleep every night.
- Know when your body’s circadian rhythm kicks in, potentially causing tiredness. For most people, it is between midnight and 6 a.m., and between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Avoid driving between these hours, unless you know you slept well enough to mitigate these natural lulls.
- Eat healthily. Eating at irregular times or skipping meals causes your body’s energy levels to destabilize and can also cause you to get insufficient sleep.
- If you start feeling drowsy on a long road trip, pull off the road and take a nap for at least 45 minutes. Never begin driving as soon as you wake up—wait for at least 15 minutes.
- Do not take medication that makes you drowsy before you drive.
- If you start yawning, notice blurred vision, or your eyes feel heavy, pull off the road and take a nap, even if it’s in the middle of the day.
Consequences of Causing a Driving Fatigued Accident
In addition to possibly injuring or killing drivers and passengers alike, fatigued driving can also mean striking an innocent person such as a pedestrian. When you fall asleep for even 30 seconds, you will have traveled six-tenths of a mile at 70 miles per hour. That’s a little more than a half-mile—and a lot can happen in that very short time, especially if you are in a lot of traffic or on a windy road. Even at 30 miles per hour, you travel a quarter of a mile without knowing what you are doing.
Furthermore, since you don’t have control over what you do when you fall asleep, you could increase your speed. If you don’t realize you are doing 80 miles per hour when you fall asleep, you could travel a mile in 45 seconds and could cause a multiple car pileup.
After a car accident or especially a truck accident, you could suffer catastrophic injuries or could cause someone else to suffer catastrophic injuries. If you are found to be at fault for the accident, your insurance company could decide to deny your claim. To learn more about who’s at fault in a truck accident or how to determine fault in a car accident speak with one of our experienced auto accident lawyers today and discuss your case.
However, if a fatigued driver causes an accident and injures or kills someone else, that person or his or her family can hold the driver responsible for medical bills, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and replacement of personal property.
If that person’s injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities, the driver could also pay future lost wages, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium and/or companionship, inconvenience, and, if applicable, money for disfigurement and amputation.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you suffer from injuries from a car accident, or you lost a loved one in a car accident:
- If possible, call emergency services.
- If you can move without causing further injury, check on the other drivers.
- Never admit fault. Let first responders determine what caused the accident.
- Take photos of the accident scene from all angles. Be sure to include skid marks and damage to others’ property, whether the other driver or your vehicle caused the damage.
- Let medical professionals check you at the scene.
- Get the other driver’s contact, registration, license, and insurance information.
- Get contact information from witnesses.
- Go to the emergency department or see your doctor as soon as possible after the accident to get thoroughly checked out. Some injuries manifest hours or even days later.
- Contact a car accident lawyer.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
While some people believe they can save money by negotiating with insurance companies themselves, that is rarely the case. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Thus, they will find any reason to deny your claim. Barring that, they will offer you the least amount possible to make you go away. The more that they have to pay out, the less money they make.
When you do notify an insurance company of an accident, only give them minimal information, including your name, date, time, and location of the accident, and your personal injury lawyers contact information.
To learn more about what you should do after any type of auto accident contact our skilled car accident attorneys today online or at