By getting your license, you are implicitly agreeing to behave in a safe and courteous manner behind the wheel. Driving while fatigued is a breach of this agreement. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association found that approximately 50,000 people were injured in the 91,000 police-reported accidents in 2017 that involved drowsy driving.
Signs of drowsy driving
Drowsy driving is often just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. The National Safety Council reported that driving after you have been awake for more than 20 hours straight is the same as driving with a .08% blood alcohol concentration. Both drowsy driving and drunk driving often involve slower reaction times, cognitive impairment, and inability to focus or pay attention to the road. To avoid driving while drowsy, here are some common signs to look for:
- Inability to maintain your lane
- Missing road signs
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Inability to maintain your speed
- Falling asleep or having difficulty keeping your head up
If you notice any of these behaviors, you should pull off the road in a safe area and take an adequate rest break before getting back behind the wheel.
What should I do if I was in an accident with a drowsy driver?
Even if you are taking all the necessary precautions, other drivers on the road may not be. If you have been involved in an accident with a drowsy driver, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against them for damages. Driving while fatigued is a form of negligent driving, and if you can establish that the other driver’s negligent behaviors caused your accident and injuries, you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses. A North Carolina attorney specializing in car accident lawsuits may be able to help bring a lawsuit against the driver responsible for your crash.