Seattle Lawyers Discuss: Fatigued Driving is Dangerous Driving
There are many things a driver can do that may threaten the health and safety of other road users, but there are also many things a driver does not do that also threatens others, specifically not getting enough sleep or rest. Fatigued or drowsy driving is a serious safety risk, and while it may be common in the commercial trucking industry (there are even laws truckers must follow related to Hours of Service), truck drivers are not the only ones that may drive fatigued.
Dangers of Driving Drowsy
Whether a driver is tired after pulling an all-nighter working, studying, or even just staying out late with friends or family, they will not be able to drive with the same level of attention, alertness, and responsiveness.
This means reaction times will be slower, turning and overall vehicle handling will be more difficult, and the driver will be more likely to travel at excessive or inconsistent speeds. Additionally, a driver may fail to brake in time or brake improperly. Falling asleep at the wheel can even cause a driver to lose complete control of his or her car and crash into other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, or fixed objects.
Furthermore, a driver’s ability to make decisions may also become impaired by drowsiness. This can lead to reckless or even illegal driving behavior, such as making a U-turn in the middle of a two-way street or reversing to make a turn that he or she missed. Driving fatigued is dangerous and often leads to serious injury or fatal auto accidents.
Didn’t Sleep? Don’t Drive
Driving may be an everyday task, but that does not mean that you can do it with your eyes closed. If you know that you are tired from lack of sleep or rest, avoid getting behind the wheel. To make sure you are in the best state possible to drive safely, follow these tips:
- Get enough sleep at night. Human beings are not nocturnal. The body naturally gets the best rest at night, so do your best to get at least seven hours of sleep a day.
- Eat regularly. Lack of calories can make you feel fatigued or even drowsy.
- If going on a long trip, take rest breaks along the way. If you are going with multiple people, take turns driving.
- In the case of truck drivers, follow Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules to the letter; those regulations are there for a reason. It’s not worth making a delivery or pick-up a little earlier. If you cause a serious accident after falling asleep at the wheel, you wouldn’t make it to your destination anyway.
- Loud music is not necessarily better than silence and might make you fell sleepier.
- If you have to drive and are tired, do what you can to improve your alertness, such as having coffee or another drink with caffeine before you hit the road.
The car crash legal team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., can help the victims of a drowsy driving accident in Washington hold the at-fault driver accountable for the harm they’ve caused, but truly hope that they wouldn’t have to. If every driver gets enough rest and practices proper safety, Washington roads will be much safer.
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