Driver Fatigue – Just How Big A Problem Is It?
Driver fatigue is a serious issue all over the country, and Florida is no exception. It’s important to know the effects that driver fatigue can have, as well as what to do if you find yourself in an accident where someone was fatigued. The fact is, fatigued driving is responsible for more accidents and more than its fair share of fatalities.
What exactly is driver fatigue?
Think of driver fatigue as both a physical and psychological condition that significantly impairs driving ability and reaction time. When drivers are feeling sleepy behind the wheel, they can be as dangerous as if they were drunk. In fact, research shows that failing to sleep for more than 24 hours is the equivalent of a blood alcohol content of 0.10, which is actually higher than the legal limit. Clearly, drivers risk their lives and the lives of other drivers when they drive fatigued.
Florida ranked 21st (tied with Delaware!) for the number of truck crashes per 100,000 people in 2004. These statistics were provided by the 2004 Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Center for Statistics Analysis. Although driver fatigue is an issue that is largely in the trucking community, it is not exclusive of every day drivers!
Here are some of the most common warning signs of driving fatigue:
• Heavy eyes
• Excessive yawning
• Weaving out of your lane
• Slow reaction time
The most serious symptom is microsleep, where you are literally asleep at the wheel for small periods of time. If you find it difficult to remember driving for the last few seconds or minutes, it’s time to stop driving and take a rest.
How To Avoid Driver Fatigue
No one on the road is immune to driver fatigue, but it’s most common in men under 30, as well as long-distance truck drivers. In order to avoid driver fatigue, the best thing you can do is get a full night’s sleep and stay well rested. Other specific things you can do include watching your intake of alcohol or medications that cause drowsiness before driving, figuring out how to avoid long periods of driving without any breaks, and taking good care of yourself overall.
Getting In An Accident
Even if you do everything right when it comes to driving, it’s always possible that someone else will cause a collision as a result of driver fatigue. In these cases, it’s wise to consult with a personal injury lawyer in Tampa like those at Roman & Roman Law. A personal injury lawyer can advise you about seeking damages as a result of negligence and answering your questions about the process.