According to recent research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 56,000 fatigue-related auto accidents occur across the nation every year, resulting in approximately 40,000 injuries and around 1,550 fatalities. This statistic is quite alarming purely because exhaustion is among the leading causes of North Carolina car collisions.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident caused by a fatigued driver, you may be able to recover damages related to the accident.
Complete the “Free Case Evaluation form” to begin exploring your legal options.
Warning Signs of Fatigue
The early hours of the morning and the middle of the afternoon are the time periods in which a fatigued-related accident is most likely to occur. Sleepiness can often affect a motorist’s ability to drive long before they realize that they are tired.
If you experience any of the following indications of fatigue while behind the wheel, you may be at risk of causing an auto accident:
- Swerving, drifting or tailgating
- Missing traffic signs, signals or exits
- Feeling unusually restless and irritable
- Excessive yawning
- Inability to remember the last few miles driven
- Difficulty focusing, heavy eyelids or frequent blinking
Keeping alert when driving is one of the most important elements of operating a motor vehicle. ALWAYS remember to drive defensively, with the knowledge that not only do you need to be aware of your own actions, but also those of the other motorists that are on the roads with you!
Risks of Driving While Tired
The implications of driver fatigue are already known to be very serious and potentially fatal in many instances.
Studies have shown that being awake for over 20 hours is the equivalent of the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, 0.08 percent. Similar to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, tired drivers not only have a slower reaction time, but their judgment becomes impaired and they develop a decreased awareness of events going on around them.
How to Avoid a Driver Fatigue Collision
- If you know that you are going to be driving, following these simple tips can help to ensure that you arrive safely at your destination:
- Don’t rush. Give yourself enough time to reach your destination. It’s crucial to allow yourself enough leeway to stop should you start to feel tired.
- Stop the car and get out and stretch every two hours or about every 100 miles.
- Avoid driving at times that you would normally be sleeping, if possible.
- Drink caffeine or chew gum before fatigue symptoms become severe. It can take about 20 minutes for caffeine to kick in, so it is important to consume caffeinated beverages early. Keep in mind, however, that caffeine only temporarily delays the onset of sleep. It does not replace proper rest.
- If you believe that you are in danger of falling asleep, pull over to a safe location and take a nap. A 15 to 20-minute power nap can do wonders in helping to make you feel more refreshed and alert when you get back behind the wheel.
- If possible, bring a passenger along with you for long road trips. Not only will this make the drive more enjoyable, you have an additional driver in the car who can take over if you begin to feel fatigued.
- Get a good night’s rest the night before. Generally, most adults need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep every night in order to maintain proper focus and attentiveness necessary to operate a vehicle.
- Avoid taking new types of medication (if possible) before heading out on the roads, as there are many common medicine types that can make a driver drowsy.
- As with most driver-related situations, it is always a wise idea to think of the safety of OTHER motorists first. If you start to feel tired when behind the wheel, pull over at first available location and take as long as you need to refresh yourself.
Fatigued Motorist Auto Accident Lawsuit
In a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2009, it was found that as many as 1.9 million drivers have been involved in a collision, or a near-crash, due to driver fatigue. Even more surprising, the poll discovered that about 54 percent of motorists have driven while drowsy at least one time and about 28 percent of drivers operate a vehicle while being excessively tired at least once a month.
If you or a loved one suffered damages in a collision caused by a tired driver, you may be able to recover damages by filing a fatigued driver auto accident lawsuit. Our team of attorneys can help determine if you are eligible to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
In the event of a lawsuit being a viable option, we have the experience and resources to fight for your full compensation claim, and guide you through the personal injury litigation process as easily as possible.
At Lewis & Keller, we will fight for your rights.
For more information on the legal rights which may be available to North Carolina auto accident victims or to see how an experienced lawyer at Lewis & Keller can help you fight for the justice that you may deserve, complete the Free Case Review form to the left to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.