According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, drowsy driving causes nearly 100,000 crashes annually. These accidents caused by driver fatigue resulted in 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths in 2017.
These crash statistics show that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. From impaired reaction time to an increased chance of driver error, several risks are associated with driving tired.
If you’ve been injured in an accident as a result of another driver’s negligent actions, contact the Phoenix auto accident attorneys at ELG Law. Our team of auto accident lawyers is here to help.
When you get behind the wheel after being awake for 17 or more hours, your reaction time is adversely affected. In fact, drowsy drivers are impaired in the same way as those who are legally drunk.
These effects of tired driving only worsen at night. Operating a vehicle after sundown increases drowsiness, especially if a driver has been on the road for several hours at a time. Additionally, the risk of an accident further increases when drivers sleep less than seven hours in the previous 24 hours.
Car accidents are already more likely to occur at nighttime, with 40% of all crash fatalities occurring after sundown despite the fact that there is less traffic on the road.
Needless to say, drowsy driving also increases the risk of driver error. More than one in three drivers has fallen asleep at least once while driving, making car accidents much more likely. Drowsy drivers drifting in and out of sleep may cross into other lanes or drive off the road.
Some drowsy drivers even experience a phenomenon known as micro-sleep, defined as short, involuntary instances of inattention. A driver may experience micro-sleep for only 4 to 5 seconds, but at highway speeds, vehicles travel the length of a football field in this short time.
Over the past five years, drowsy drivers contributed to approximately 20% of all fatal crashes due to driver error.
Furthermore, lack of sleep can cause aggressive driving. Drowsy drivers are more susceptible to road rage and impatience on the road. This impatience translates to aggressive, error-filled driving. Impatient drivers may weave in and out of lanes, speed, and disregard traffic signals.
Drowsy drivers are also more prone to confrontations with other drivers since fatigue can cause irritation and irrational anger.
Drivers suffering from a lack of sleep aren’t able to sustain attention to the road and drowsy driving decreases a driver’s awareness of road hazards, contributing to errors, and serious accidents. A driver who is driving while sleepy is libel to cause accidents resulting in severe injuries.
The consequences of drowsy driving can be deadly. If you’re fatigued, don’t get behind the wheel.
And if you or a loved one has been injured in a car wreck, contact our Phoenix auto accident attorneys at ELG Law. Contact us at (623) 562-3838 for a free consultation and no-hassle legal aid today.