Drowsy driving, as most people in New York are aware, is dangerous. Yet according to a National Sleep Foundation survey, roughly half of all U.S. drivers consistently get behind the wheel while drowsy, and 20% of the respondents disclosed that they fell asleep at least once in the prior year. Fatigue can actually make a car crash three times more likely.
Drowsy driving a lot like drunk driving
If you were to go without sleep for 20 hours straight, your actions would begin to resemble those of someone with a 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) — in other words, someone who’s legally drunk. Drowsiness leads to inattentive driving, slows one’s reflexes and makes it harder to exercise good judgment.
In extreme cases, drowsy drivers can black out for four or five seconds. These microsleep episodes, as they are called, can cause a driver traveling at highway speeds to unknowingly cover the length of a football field.
Crashes with drowsy drivers are frequent
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that each year, there are some 328,000 crashes involving a drowsy driver. Injuries arise in around 109,000 of these and fatalities in around 6,400 cases. To avoid becoming a statistic, drivers should start by watching for the symptoms of drowsiness. They include:
• A drooping head and eyelids
• Constant yawning
• Lane drifting
• Trouble remembering the last few miles
What you can do after an accident
Whether the drivers who cause motor vehicle accidents were drowsy, most victims leave it to their insurance companies to cover their losses. Since New York is a no-fault state, only rarely can victims file a third-party claim. If your injuries were so severe as to necessitate such a claim, you may want a lawyer to perform a case assessment. He or she may even negotiate for a fair settlement out of court.