Most people occasionally get behind the wheel while sleepy. It is normal to feel fatigued while driving to work in the morning or on the way home after a long day. However, there is a difference between driving while feeling normal levels of sleepiness and driving while dangerously fatigued. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t know the difference or choose to ignore the times they are too tired to drive safely.
Fatigued driving is quite dangerous, and it can lead to devastating consequences. If you are the victim of a car accident, it is possible fatigued driving played a role in what happened to you. Like driving while distracted or under the influence of alcohol, fatigued driving is a type of negligent and reckless driving, and you could have legal options available to you.
Why is it so dangerous?
According to a study on fatigued driving, about half of all adults admit to getting behind the wheel while drowsy. At the time of the study, around 20% of those polled admitted to actually falling asleep behind the wheel, and 40% say they’ve done this at least once since they started driving.
Most individuals who are dangerously fatigued are unaware of how dangerous their behavior is and how they are putting themselves and others at risk. Statistics indicate that fatigue makes it three times more likely that a driver will be in an accident. Tired driving leads to a higher chance of car accidents for the following reasons:
- A tired driver is less likely to see and respond to a hazard.
- It can take a fatigued driver longer to come to a complete stop.
- Fatigue affects a driver’s reaction times and awareness of his or her surroundings.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that approximately 100,000 car crashes each year happen as a result of drowsy driving. You could be a victim of this preventable type of negligent driving.
The rights of victims
Victims of drowsy driving have rights. You could have grounds to pursue recovery through a personal injury claim against the liable party. If you believe you could have a valid case, you may find it helpful to seek an understanding of how the civil justice system works in Texas and what you can do to preserve your interests. Every driver is responsible for poor choices behind the wheel, including choosing to drive while dangerously fatigued.