Drivers who are distracted, impaired by drugs, or just fatigued cause tens of thousands of accidents and many deaths on the road each year. This post describes the scale or the problem, what do do if injured by a fatigued driver, and how to avoid becoming one. You will also learn what to do after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Scale of the Problem:
Fatigued cause thousands of accidents every week, many resulting in serious or fatal injuries either in their vehicle or in the vehicle they hit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gather statistics on causes of traffic accidents. The numbers paint a sobering picture of just how much of a problem fatigued driving really is. For example, 25% of drivers 18 and older reported driving while fatigued at least once in 30 days. These drivers all made themselves a threat to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians in the area.
Those drowsy drivers cause massive damage on the road. As many as 9,000 deaths a year may be caused by drivers who are fatigued. In 2013, fatigued drivers caused an estimated 44,000 injuries and many more non-injury accidents. In one survey of Americans, 4% had reported falling asleep at the wheel in the past 30 days. Drivers of commercial vehicles pose an even greater risk because they carry passengers who drive huge commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers.
How to Protect Yourself:
Being alert to what drivers are doing is the best defense against any kind of careless driving. Drivers who are tired enough to pose a threat to others usually show signs, like wandering our of their lane. As a cyclist or pedestrian, there is less you can do. But, anyone injured by an act of negligence on the road can take several steps after the accident.
Any Phoenix personal injury attorney would advise that you take several steps after any injury accident after getting medical care, if needed.
Get a copy of the police report, if there is one
If an ambulance ride was involved, get the contact information for the ambulance team
Get contact information for witnesses
Gather copies of your insurance documents, any communication from the other party, and any medical bills
Never sign any legal documents without speaking to an attorney. The fatigued driver’s insurance company may well pressure you into agreeing to a settlement if it becomes clear their client was at fault. Taking a quick settlement is almost always a mistake, because it is difficult to say how much a serious injury can cost. The medical bills are seldom the whole cost. The settlement amount may not cover lost wages, medication, and physical or occupational therapy. An nyc personal injury attorney will know when to settle, and for how much.
Avoiding Driver Fatigue:
Most drivers have stayed on the road longer than they should have or set off on a road trip without adequate sleep. Those drivers put themselves and others at risk by having slowed reaction time, poor decision making, and reduced situation awareness. If you are yawning, drifting in your lane, or drifting onto the rumble strips alongside the highway, you are too tired to continue driving.
This advice is even more important on interstate highways where speeds of 70 miles per hour or more give less time to react and cause crashes to be far more serious. On rural highways and city streets, the risk of causing a serious accident remains.
The CDC recommends that drivers follow some common-sense tips to avoid driving while overly tired:
Develop good sleep habits (regular sleep and wake times, no caffeine or screen time before bed, et cetera)
Get 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night
Never mix driving with alcohol or drugs that cause drowsiness
Talk to your doctor if you think you may have a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea
Drivers can avoid becoming overly fatigued by taking some simple steps to avoid this cause for so many serious accidents. Call a nyc personal injury attorney as soon as possible after any serious accident.