Driving while impaired is rarely legally advisable, even if the impairment is not from drugs or alcohol. In fact, one of the greatest risks to many drivers across the country is driving while drowsy or sleep deprived.
Drowsy driving accounts for or contributes to many accidents each year. Fortunately, public awareness of this threat is on the rise, but is still far from attaining the same sort of general acceptance as a legitimate driving risk that drunk driving holds. Sadly, drowsy driving is often just as dangerous as drunk driving.
How does drowsy driving affect drivers?
Drowsy driving is actually surprisingly similar to drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs that reduce awareness, focus and response time, like marijuana. In fact, many law enforcement departments now treat drowsy driving similarly to drunk driving. If you choose to get behind the wheel while sleep-deprived or otherwise sleep-impaired, you may receive a ticket, or even find yourself liable for a car accident.
May drivers are so used to the process of getting tired in every day life that they assume they can control their own alertness in the face of drowsiness. Unfortunately, that is not really how the body works. Unless people take specific actions to remain alert, awake, and focused behind the wheel, they may experience:
- slow response times when danger is present
- reduced focus on the road
- limited awareness of danger
- general difficulty staying on the road, obeying traffic laws and remaining within a lane
These are only broad generalizations. Like alcohol and drugs, drowsiness affects different people in different ways, but nearly all of them compromise driver safety.
What if I’m hit by a drowsy driver?
Even if you remain alert and vigilant behind the wheel, you cannot dictate how responsible other drivers on the road choose to be. If you experience a car accident with a drowsy driver, be sure to gather as much evidence as you can without conveying that you accept responsibility for the accident and then contact an attorney.
An experienced attorney can even come to the scene of your accident to gather evidence and begin protecting your rights immediately. Professional legal counsel ensures that you don’t miss important opportunities to protect yourself, while keeping you from accidentally assuming responsibility for the accident. However you choose to proceed, be sure that you understand your rights and use all the tools you have to protect them as you pursue fair compensation for any losses or injuries you receive.