Every year, many people cause car accidents by driving while they are tired. Some fall asleep behind the wheel and either run off the road or drift into other lanes of traffic. In many cases, drowsy driving accidents occur on high-speed roads, making them especially catastrophic.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tiredness can result in several driving impairments. Drowsy drivers often demonstrate slower reaction times, sometimes resulting in them being unable to stop in time to avoid wrecking into other vehicles. They also show a decreased ability to pay attention to possible dangers as well as problems with processing information from the environment.
Driving performance is optimized if people get between seven and nine hours of sleep, but many people sleep less than that. Some people work more than one job or work extended hours, including shift work that can negatively impact their sleep and, consequently, their driving. Others may not get quality sleep due to a disorder such as sleep apnea, leaving people fatigued even though they slept. Normal circadian rhythms may also make non-sleep deprived people feel tired in the afternoons or early evenings nonetheless.
Drivers owe a duty to be alert and able to react to hazards. When a driver is drowsy and it results in an accident, the injured victims may be able to hold the driver responsible through a personal injury lawsuit. Car accidents often leave injured victims with substantial financial burdens and losses in their quality of life. Personal injury lawsuits may provide a method through which plaintiffs may seek and recover damages to compensate them for their losses. An attorney can explain the process of filing such a lawsuit and the damages that could be sought.