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The Consequences of Drowsy Driving

December 29, 2016

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Driver fatigue causes thousands of car accidents every year. While all car crashes can be frightening or painful, accidents involving drowsy drivers are especially tragic because they can easily be prevented. Unfortunately, the number of deaths caused by drowsy driving is on the rise and it is even estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that driver fatigue is related to as many as 100,000 crashes a year. In those crashes, around 71,000 people are injured and 1,500 lose their lives on an annual basis. A driver’s decision to operate a vehicle while fatigued can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. If you or a loved one were recently injured in a car crash, it is critical to speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses.

Preventive Measures

There are a number of ways that can help drivers avoid falling asleep at the wheel, including:

  • Getting enough sleep on a daily basis;
  • Avoiding drinking alcohol or taking medications that cause drowsiness before operating a vehicle;
  • Remaining on the look-out for signs of fatigue;
  • Taking hourly breaks;
  • Avoiding heavy meals before driving for long stretches;
  • Avoiding driving between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. and in the late afternoon; and
  • Traveling with a passenger who can help drive.

Unfortunately, despite having the best intentions or taking all necessary steps, a person may still struggle with fatigue while driving. This is especially true of those who drive for long stretches of time for a living. However, drivers can still avoid accidents if they pull off the road once they begin to exhibit certain behaviors, such as:

  • Drifting in and out of a lane;
  • Hitting rumble strips;
  • Being unable to remember driving the previous few miles;
  • Yawning repeatedly;
  • Having difficulty focusing the eyes; and
  • Repeatedly missing exits or traffic signs.

Once a driver recognizes any of these signs, he or she should immediately pull over at a rest stop or in a safe place on the side of the road for a short rest. It can also be helpful to drink between one to two cups of coffee, although this is only a temporary solution and can actually lead to a caffeine crash within a few short hours. Although it may be inconvenient to pull over and take a short nap or switch drivers, in the long run it can make all the difference in preventing devastating car accidents.

Contact a Dedicated Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer

Drowsy driving contributes to thousands of crashes a year, some of which result in serious injuries or even death. Fortunately, injured parties may be able to collect compensation for their losses, including medical expenses and lost wages. If you were recently injured in a car crash that was caused by another person’s negligent driving, please contact van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim by calling (215) 486-0123 and a member of our legal team will help you schedule a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney who can explain your legal options.


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