Dangers of Fatigued Driving

October 26, 2021 | Car Accidents

Driving while fatigued is dangerous for everyone on the roadway. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for vehicle accidents to occur as a result of drivers operating while fatigued. Chances are, every licensed driver has operated while exhausted behind the wheel at some point. However, there are various steps that drivers can take to avoid operating vehicles while fatigued in order to increase roadway safety. Our car accident attorney in Austin is here to to discuss the dangers of drowsy driving and the steps you can take to avoid these car collisions.

Drowsy Driving is Dangerous Driving

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has examined the effects of drowsy driving. According to the NHTSA, nearly 700 people lost their lives as a result of drowsy-driving-related collisions during the latest reporting year across this country. The administration says that driving while fatigued happens for a variety of reasons, including a lack of sleep, late or long work shifts, hanging out late with friends or family, or long and monotonous drives.

According to estimates, drowsy driving resulted in around 91,000 police-reported crashes during the latest reporting year across the US. In addition to the fatality mentioned above, approximately 50,000 people were injured as a result of these collisions.

Tips for Avoiding Drowsy Driving

There are various ways that you can avoid operating their vehicle while drowsy. This can include:

  • Making sure you get an adequate amount of sleep before getting behind the wheel.
  • Avoiding drinking alcoholic beverages before operating the vehicle. Alcohol interacts with fatigue to increase drowsiness and impairment.
  • Checking prescription and over-the-counter medication labels to see if fatigue or drowsiness is a result of the usage.
  • Using public transportation if you are fatigued or using medication that could cause drowsiness. 
  • Avoid operating a vehicle during peak sleepiness periods, which typically include times from midnight to 6:00 AM, as well as the late afternoon.

Short-term interventions like drinking coffee are typically not enough to stave off fatigue driving for any length of time. Caffeine can help individuals feel alert for a short period of time, but it can also make you “crash” and become even more fatigued. If you do find yourself fatigued while operating your vehicle, we strongly encourage you to pull over at a safe location and consider taking a short nap.

Commonalities Between Drunk Driving & Drowsy Driving

When we look at data directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we can see the studies have shown that going too long without sleep can impair an individual’s ability to drive in the same way that drinking too much alcohol does. According to the CDC, being awake for at least 18 hours is the same as a person having a blood alcohol content level of .05%. Even though this may not be the legal limit, this is still a level of impairment.

The CDC says that being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of .10%, which is higher than the legal blood alcohol content limit in every state across this country.

Even though you may not receive a DUI if you are operating a vehicle while drowsy, you can still get into an accident that results in the same types of injuries and property damage as an impaired driving collision.