What To Do When Hit By A Tired Driver
What's In This Article
Getting into a car accident is a scary experience. Getting hit by a tired driver doesn’t make it any less scary. Imagine this: you’re behind the wheel on a long stretch of highway. It’s late at night. There are only a few other vehicles on the road. Your seat is comfortable. The temperature in the car is at your ideal setting. And the radio is droning on in the background. Perhaps you didn’t get enough sleep last night. Maybe it’s past your bedtime. Or you’ve been driving for a long time. Whatever the reason, your eyes become heavy. You do what you can to wake up. You roll down the windows. You drink a latte and blast loud music. Perhaps you even call a friend to keep you awake or practice a foreign language. With just a few more miles to go, you don’t want to pull over and rest. You believe you can make it.
Many of us will experience this exact scenario at one point or another. And many times, it ends exactly how you’d expect. You arrive at your destination a little bleary-eyed but no worse for the wear. Sometimes, though, driving tired has consequences. It results in the kind of terrible tragedy that forever changes the lives of those involved. In short, driving while you’re tired could kill someone. That person could be you, or it could be another person on the road. Driving when you’re tired can be a fatal mistake.
Drowsy vs. Drunk Driving
Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk or distracted driving. But most people don’t take it seriously. That’s because drunk and distracted driving grab the headlines. Tired driving isn’t as interesting. But it’s unfortunately much more commonplace than you’d think. Most people will admit to driving while feeling sleepy at one point or another. It’s the reason why so many rest stops and gas stations sell coffee and energy drinks. But the caffeine boost will only result in a worse crash. The fatigue will hit you even more after the caffeine has worn off. And those involved in accidents involving drowsy motorists will tell you the truth. Driving tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence.
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The Numbers Don’t Look Good
The National Sleep Foundation teaches us a lot about driving and cognitive levels. Have you been awake for 18 hours? If you drive, you’ll perform as if you have a .05 blood alcohol level. For reference, .08 is over the limit in most states. If you’re up for 24 hours, it gets even worse. Your driving will be similar to that of someone with a .10 blood alcohol level. In a sense, driving while tired is like driving under the influence.
Statistics show that over 50% of drivers in the United States regularly drive while tired. An estimated 20% of drivers have fallen asleep while driving in the past year. And 40% of drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in their entire driving career. Those numbers add up.
Most people would never dream of drinking and driving. But, as the statistics show, many will happily get behind the wheel when tired. It’s not that they’re bad people. It’s that they don’t realize how dangerous tired driving is. They don’t realize that it can take lives. Whether your are the tired one or you are hit by a tired driver, neither scenario is good.
Effects of Drowsiness When Driving
When a person decides to drive while drowsy, the results can be dire. Most drowsy driving accidents occur after midnight. It’s dark outside, which already causes reduced visibility. Fatigue further reduces a driver’s awareness of hazards. It also impairs their ability to pay attention. And, if the motorist is asleep behind the wheel, they can’t try to avert a collision before it happens.
But it gets even worse. These accidents typically occur on high-speed roads. So, the injuries sustained in the car wrecks are often serious. Fatigued driving accidents often result in wrong way collisions and over corrections. Over corrections are particularly dangerous because the vehicle can dangerously swerve between lanes. This can cause a multi-car collision, if there are enough cars in close proximity to each other. Any situation where a driver is not in control of their vehicle can be deadly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports around 100,000 crashes. Those are just the ones caused by a tired driver every year. In a single year, over 1,550 people die in these accidents. An additional 71,000 people sustain injuries. Those numbers come from the accidents reported to the police. Not all accidents are always reported. It’s also difficult to tell when a driver has been driving while tired. There’s no test to determine how drowsy a driver is.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports even more accidents. On an annual basis, they report 328,000 accidents caused by tired drivers. Of those 328,000 accidents, 109,000 caused injuries, and 6,400 accidents resulted in death. The research conducted from these reports don’t look good. They indicate that there are far more drowsy driving accidents than reported. The percentage is as much as 350% greater.
Ways to Prevent Drowsy Driving
It’s not surprising to note that younger drivers account for many drowsy-driving accidents. Specifically, drivers younger than 25 have been reported. Understanding safe driving practices begins in driver’s ed. Parents and driving instructors have the responsibility to teach young drivers. They should be warned about drowsy driving.
Encouraging teenagers to get at least eight hours of sleep is a great starting place. There are technologies that alert drivers when they get sleepy. Many vehicles have equipment to warn you when you’re departing from your lane.
But young drivers don’t account for all drowsy drivers. Adults in every age category do. You might be an exhausted mother running errands while the kids are at school. You could be a grandparent shopping for a birthday present or going to the doctor. Or you could be on a road trip. The possibilities are endless.
Another precaution to take is not driving when you start a new medication. Some medications may cause drowsiness.
Signs You’re Too Tired to Drive
These are the signs that you’re too tired to drive:
- Yawning a lot
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Having trouble keeping your head up
- Not remembering where you’ve driven
- Not knowing how you got where you are
- Missing your turn
- Not seeing a sign you’ve been looking for
- Not driving at consistent speeds
- Not staying in your lane
What To Do After Hit by a Tired Driver
Have you been in a car accident? If hit by a tired driver, there are steps you should take.
First, call the police. Dial 9-1-1 before you even get out of your car. Provide your location and state that you’ve been in an accident. Give the dispatcher as much detail as you can. It’s especially important to note if you have passengers and if they received injuries.
The police will come to the scene of the accident and assess what happened. They will fill out an accident report. You’ll need a copy of this report for your insurance company.
Emergency first responders will also come to the scene of the accident. They will take a look at every person involved in the accident. Injured individuals will receive treatment. Treatment may include transportation to the hospital. Allow the first responders to examine you. Do so even if you aren’t in pain. You could have undetected injuries.
Second, go to the doctor. This might seem redundant, but it’s extremely important. You might have injuries that don’t hurt yet. If they surface later, you’ll have a trail of evidence. That trail of evidence will confirm that your injuries relate to the accident. Otherwise, the other party could argue that your injuries are unrelated. It could be significantly harder to claim damages. In fact, you might not be able to collect damages at all. So, make sure you go to the doctor!
Third, file a claim. You’ll want to do this right away. File the claim with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. Give them copies of the police report and your documented injuries (if you have any). We recommend filing your claim the day of the accident. If you can’t get to the doctor until the next day, it’s okay to send the documentation of your injuries when you have them. If you can’t get in to see your primary care physician, go to an urgent care. Remember that timeliness is important for creating that trail of evidence.
Once you’ve filed your claim, it will be time to repair your vehicle. You’ll do so by finding a repair shop that works with your insurance company. You’ll pay your deductible. Then, your insurance company will cover any additional costs. If the damage to your vehicle exceeds its worth, it’s totaled. You’ll receive a check for the Fair Market Value (FMV) of the vehicle. The Fair Market Value is how much the vehicle was worth right before the accident. You can use that check to purchase a new vehicle.
Lawsuit Info Center Can Help
Victims of drowsy driving accidents are often left seriously injured, sometimes fatally so. Have you been in hit by a tired driver? You should think about hiring a car accident attorney. Car accident attorneys are trained to help you. They can review your case and tell you how much they think it’s worth, based on their past experiences. They can help you collect the damages you deserve. It’s important to bring the responsible driver to justice. Fatigue is not an excuse for hitting another driver. Was someone you know killed in an accident like that? A lawyer can assist in recovering costs associated with that wreck, too.
No one should suffer because of someone’s decision to drive while they’re tired. When this occurs, Lawsuit Info Center is eager to help. We connect experienced personal injury attorneys to victims and their families. Nothing can turn back the clock and prevent an accident. But a car crash settlement can help ease the financial burden brought on by the incident. Get started today by calling 877-810-4067. You can also use the navigation at the top of LawsuitInfoCenter.com if you hate making phone calls. Either way, we’re here to help.
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