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Why Drowsy Driving Can Increase the Risk of Car Accidents

 Posted on June 11,2024 in Car Accidents

San Jose Personal Injury LawyerMany people have experienced situations where they have become tired while behind the wheel. Whether fatigue has set in after a long day of work, a person has stayed awake during a lengthy road trip, or drowsiness has been caused by other factors, these issues can significantly affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Understanding the dangers of driving while fatigued can be crucial for ensuring road safety. Drivers who cause car accidents because of fatigue or drowsiness may be held liable for their negligence. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on the best ways to address issues related to driver fatigue and ensure that an accident victim will be fully compensated.

Common Causes of Drowsy Driving

Several factors can contribute to a driver becoming drowsy or tired while behind the wheel, including:

  • Lack of sleep: Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Failing to get enough rest can lead to drowsiness.

  • Sleep disorders: Conditions like sleep apnea or insomnia can severely affect a person's quality of sleep, and they may struggle to stay awake and alert while driving.

  • Medications: Some prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines have side effects that include drowsiness. It is important to read labels and understand how medications can impact driving. Combining certain medications or drinking alcohol after taking certain drugs can lead to increased drowsiness or effects similar to intoxication.

  • Long hours and shift work: Extended work hours, especially for those with night shifts or rotating schedules, can disrupt natural sleep patterns. These workers may become tired or drowsy when driving to and from work at odd hours.

  • Monotonous driving: Long routes on highways or straight roads can lead to a lack of stimulation, causing increased tiredness for drivers. This issue may affect commercial drivers who travel long distances across the country, potentially leading to truck accidents.

  • Alcohol consumption: Even small amounts of alcohol can enhance feelings of fatigue. After one or two drinks, a driver may not be over the legal limit, but they may become drowsy, increasing the chances that they will become involved in an accident.

Effects of Drowsiness on Driving

Drowsiness and fatigue can impact a person's driving abilities in several ways, including:

  • Reduced reaction time: A tired driver may not be able to react as quickly to sudden changes or hazards on the road. Because of this, they may be unable to avoid collisions.

  • Impaired judgment: Decision-making skills can be significantly compromised when a driver is fatigued. A person may take risks or engage in unsafe behaviors, increasing the likelihood of an accident.

  • Decreased attention: Drowsy drivers are more likely to experience lapses in attention, missing important cues such as traffic signs or signals. If they do not notice crucial details, they may be unaware of the movements of other vehicles, they may fail to notice pedestrians, or they may not respond correctly to potential hazards.

  • Microsleeps: These brief, involuntary episodes of sleep can last a few seconds, during which the driver is not conscious of their surroundings. Even a momentary loss of consciousness can be incredibly dangerous, causing a driver to drift out of their lane into oncoming traffic or collide with other vehicles from behind.

Contact Our San Jose Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney

When a person has failed to take the necessary steps to ensure that they can drive safely, they may be held responsible for the injuries and damages that others have experienced in a collision. A skilled attorney can help gather evidence to demonstrate that an accident occurred because a driver was drowsy or fatigued. 

At Law Office of John J. Garvey, III, our Santa Clara County car accident lawyer can provide representation in these cases, working to ensure that an accident victim will be fully compensated for injuries caused by drowsy driving. Contact our firm at 408-293-7777 to set up a free consultation and learn how we can assist with these cases.

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