Drunk driving is in the news often, but you don’t hear about drowsy driving quite so frequently. You may be surprised to learn that statistically speaking, a driver who is overtired causes and is involved in accidents at roughly the same rate as those who are intoxicated.
Fast Fact: A driver who has not slept for 20 hours exhibits the same reaction times as a driver with a 0.08% blood alcohol count, which is the legal limit.
(Source: National Safety Council)
However, most people are too fatigued to be behind the wheel of a car long before the 20 hour mark. Drivers who are tired have slower reaction times, can make poor judgements, and lose focus. Unfortunately, as is proven every day, it only takes a split second of distraction to change your life forever. That is why it is so important to remain alert behind the wheels in all circumstances – including feeling well rested while driving.
Statistics – Drowsy Driving
Because driving is an everyday occurrence, many people do think they can “do it with one eye closed.” All of us have been tired after a long day of work, and driven home, because driving has become so second nature. However, we forget that there are literally hundreds of events and circumstances we must react to over the course of every mile we drive. From stop signs to pedestrians, from changing traffic signals to construction cones – it is imperative a driver is alert to his or her surroundings. These statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA highlight the issues with drowsy driving.
- 100,000 drowsy driving accidents are reported annually across the United States
- Because people often don’t report drowsy driving as a cause, AAA estimates that a more accurate number is likely 328,000
- Drowsy driving costs Americans $109 billion dollars annually, and that doesn’t even include property damage
- According to a poll of drivers, 4% admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in the past 30 days.
Motor Vehicle Accidents Caused by Drowsy Drivers
When a driver is overtired, they are more apt to make a driving error – such as drifting into another lane, making an illegal turn, or failing to notice the car turning in front of them.
While you may not consider drowsy driving a crime, a driver can legally be held negligent if it can be proven that they were too tired to be behind the wheel of a car.
How do you know if you are too tired to drive safely? Drowsy drivers will experience many of the same symptoms, including
* Head bobbing, nodding off
* Difficulty keeping one’s eyes open
* Driving past exits or turns, missing signs or signals
* Drifting into other lanes or onto safety strips
If you were injured by a drowsy driver – or a driver exhibiting any form of negligence on the road – their insurance company is typically liable to pay for your injuries, expenses and medical bills (after your insurance company pays out on your policy, as Florida is a no-fault state.)
If the negligent party was not covered by the required insurance at the time of the accident, you may be able to file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim. To recover compensation, you will be burdened with proving the defendant driver’s fatigue was the cause of the accident.
Seeking Chiropractic Treatment
If you have been involved in any type of auto accident, the chances are that your body suffered some form of trauma. Because even a small misalignment can cause pain and discomfort, it is important to seek treatment to align your spine, reduce compression or pressure on your vertebrae and discs, and maintain optimum health.
If you were in a car accident in the North Port area – even if you are not feeling pain today – call West Coast Wellness. We will work with you to ensure that the health and wellness of your spine is looked after today, in order to prevent any further complications in the future.
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