There are many causes of motor vehicle accidents in Alabama. People will automatically think about the obvious dangers on the road, including drunk drivers, distracted drivers, recklessness and negligence. However, there is an understated risk that causes a significant number of collisions with injuries and fatalities every year: drowsy driving.
Researchers emphasize the risks of drowsy drivers. Reaction time is an essential part of safe driving, and it gets worse as drivers grow drowsier. If a driver has not slept in more than 20 hours, it is similar to driving while legally drunk. Drowsy drivers have triple the chance of being in motor vehicle accidents. There are subtle signs of drowsiness, including “micro-sleep” in which the driver will have an involuntary time in which they are not paying attention to the road. Five seconds on a highway will be the equivalent of a full football field.
The National Sleep Foundation says that an estimated 50% of adult drivers admit to driving while drowsy. Also, 20% say they fell asleep while driving. Forty percent say they fell asleep behind the wheel at least once in their driving lives. While estimates for the number of crashes drowsy driving causes each year vary, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that around 328,000 of these accidents happen on an annual basis. That is triple the number reported to police. AAA also found that 109,000 led to injuries with 6,400 resulting in fatalities.
There are steps to prevent drowsy driving, like advanced technology, universities encouraging students not to drive when tired, sleeping more, checking medications for side effects that may include drowsiness, and employers being cognizant of the dangers. After an auto accident, you can be confronted with medical costs from hospitalizations, lost income due to the inability to work, and challenges at home. A legal filing for compensation might be needed. Evidence can be crucial in a case, especially if the accident was due to drowsy driving. Being protected by legal professionals experienced in motor vehicle accidents may be helpful with a claim.