It seems like we’re always hearing about the dangers of distracted driving or drunk driving, and while those are issues that should be taken seriously, drowsy driving is another major cause of car or truck accidents on Atlanta’s busy roads.
Drowsy driving can potentially be even more dangerous because you cannot control when you become tired. You can avoid getting behind the wheel after you’ve had alcohol or put your phone away when driving, but sleepiness or exhaustion can creep up on you in the middle of a drive, putting you at risk for an accident.
When you are at risk for drowsy driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most drowsy driving accidents happen in the late afternoon or late at night and involve a solo driver. They are also more likely to occur on rural roads.
This should not come as a surprise, since we tend to get sleepier without someone to talk to, keeping us awake and the distractions of busy areas can also help to keep us alert.
Get enough sleep
The best way to avoid drowsy driving is to get enough sleep. There is really no way getting around this. If you do not get enough sleep, you are more likely to be a drowsy driver.
Try to avoid driving alone if you know there is a chance you will get tired. This is especially true if you are going on a long drive, or driving at hours you are not used to being awake.
Check your medications
Pay attention to any medications you are taking. Drowsiness is a side effect of many medications, and it could affect you more than you realize.
Coffee or other caffeinated beverages like energy drinks can help, for only for a little while. Do not have more than one or two to keep you alert.
What to do if you start to nod off
If you start to fall asleep at the wheel, pull over in a safe place and take a short nap. You do not need to sleep for a long time to regain your alertness. A quick nap can wake you up enough to drive safely.
Drowsy drivers are negligent drivers, and while you may do everything you can to not be a drowsy driver, other drivers who are fatigued increase your risk of an accident.
All Atlanta drivers have a legal duty to drive safely and reasonably. What this duty means depends on the circumstances.
For example, driving the posted speed limit is usually considered safe driving. However, in icy conditions, driving at the speed limit could be dangerous. In that case, your legal duty might be to drive under the speed limit.
A failure of this legal duty that directly causes an accident that results in damage establishes negligence.
Proving negligence in a drowsy driving case
If you are injured in an accident involving a drowsy driver, a personal injury action can help you recover compensation for your damages. Showing that the driver who caused your accident was drowsy and should not have been driving can help you prove your case.
This could be difficult, since evidence proving someone was too fatigued to be driving can be hard to come by, compared with evidence such as the results of a blood alcohol test in cases involving drunk driving.