Why is Drowsy Driving Dangerous?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on November 9, 2017  in Car Accident News. Updated on March 2, 2022

drowsy drivingDriving while drowsy is a recipe for disaster. Operating a motor vehicle while sleepy puts the driver at risk, along with everyone else on the road. Even nearby pedestrians and property owners can be harmed by a drowsy driver’s lack of care.

If you are hurt in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, a New Jersey car accident lawyer from our Hasbrouck Heights office can help. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more about your legal options and find out if you are entitled to compensation. You will not pay us unless we win your case and you recover compensation.

How Fatigue Affects Your Driving Ability

Driving while fatigued is similar to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, New Jersey Statutes §2C:11-5 states a driver who has not slept for 24 hours is considered a reckless driver in the same class as a driver who operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Though it might seem like somewhat of an innocent mistake to nod off for a brief moment while driving, the consequences are often just as bad as driving while drunk or high. Drowsiness:

  • Delays reaction time
  • Impairs judgment
  • Reduces awareness
  • Dramatically heightens the odds of a crash
  • Impairs vision
  • Inhibits the processing information quickly and accurately
  • Impairs short-term memory

Simply put, drowsy drivers lack the vigilance and the ability to perform like a responsible driver.

Drowsy Driving Statistics

Despite the dangers of drowsy driving, motorists drive while fatigued regularly and drowsy driving accidents are common:

  • The NHTSA reports drowsy driving claims more than 800 lives per year.
  • According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers who sleep for a mere 5-6 hours in a period of 24 hours are twice as likely to crash as those who sleep for seven or more hours.
  • Drivers who sleep for merely 4-5 hours face a crash rate that is four times higher than that of those who get an adequate amount of sleep.
  • The NHTSA reports one-fifth of all fatal accidents involve a sleepy driver.
  • One in 25 drivers has fallen asleep while behind the wheel in the past 30 days.

Prevention Tips

The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to avoid driving when tired. Other tips for preventing drowsy driving include:

  • Do not drive at a time when you are usually sleeping. Operating a motor vehicle when you are accustomed to sleeping conflicts with the body’s circadian rhythm.
  • If necessary, take a nap before getting behind the wheel.
  • Drink a caffeinated beverage before driving and during your trip while safely positioned at rest stops.
  • If you feel fatigued when driving, pull over to the side of the road, get out of the vehicle, stretch, run in place, take a nap or do something else to enhance your awareness before continuing to drive.
  • Take a close look at your medications. If the warning labels state the medication causes drowsiness, do not take it if you plan on driving later that day or night.
  • If you are planning a lengthy road trip, take a break every couple hours. If you have been up for more than 24 hours, do yourself and everyone else on the road a favor by getting some rest.
  • When in doubt, ask someone to accompany you so you can alternate drivers as necessary.

Legal Help After a Drowsy Driving Accident

If you are involved in an accident with a drowsy driver, do not attempt to handle your case on your own. Our New Jersey injury lawyers can help you every step of the way. Let our team review the unique facts of your case, compile evidence and represent you throughout the legal process.

Our attorneys are committed to helping you get fair compensation for your injuries, medical expenses and lost time at work. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Call us at (800) 518-0508 .

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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