Driver Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 100,000 crashes that occur in the United States each year because of drowsy driving. Out of that number, about 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries result from these accidents. While it is not a crime to drive while drowsy as it is to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can still lead to many accidents. Drowsy drivers can be held liable for any injuries they caused as a result of their tired driving and may be responsible for paying for any damages that resulted from the accident. If you have been injured in a drowsy driving car accident, contact a lawyer to understand your legal rights.

Dangers of Tired Driving

Drivers who are tired can cause accidents even if they do not fall asleep at the wheel. Driving while drowsy can be dangerous and can be due to the factors such as the following:

  • Driving for prolonged periods of time
  • Working a job with long or inconsistent hours
  • Taking medication
  • Not getting a good night’s sleep

Many drivers who are tired rely on caffeine or listening to loud music while driving to help keep them awake. They may open windows to get fresh air as well. These are no substitutes for rest and are not effective in preventing accidents. Some of these methods of staying awake can also be distractions and contribute to accidents.

Tired driving can cause a driver to be distracted, not stay alert, and not be aware of dangers on the road. They may doze off while driving, close their eyes, or simply not pay attention to other vehicles on the road. There are several things to do to avoid drowsy driving, such as:

  • Listen to your body. Be sure to get enough rest and listen to your body when you feel tired or stressed. This can help you make the right decision on whether you should be driving or not. If you notice you are yawning, closing your eyes, or missing turns, it is time to quit driving and get some rest.
  • Plan ahead. If you are planning a trip, be prepared for driving in advance. This can mean getting plenty of rest the night before your trip, staying calm and not being stressed, and giving yourself enough time to be prepared.
  • Share the driving. Enlist the help of a friend or family member if you are feeling tired while driving. If you share the driving with someone else, you can give yourself time to rest while someone else takes over the responsibility.
  • Take a break. If you are driving alone and feeling tired, pull over and take a break. A short rest can make a difference in how you feel and can help reduce fatigue. If you are taking a long trip, don’t try to drive for long periods of time. Split the trip up and take an overnight break to rest for the duration of the drive the next day.
  • Be careful with medication. Do not take medications before you drive if they can cause drowsiness. Be aware of any side effects before you take medication and understand how your body may react to certain types of medication. Never drive if you are drowsy after taking a medication.
  • Do not drink and drive. Alcohol can have a sedative effect and can cause you to become drowsy. Not only is drinking and driving illegal, but it can cause you to become tired and unable to stay alert and will put you and others at risk for an accident.

What to Do After an Accident

If you were involved in a car accident with a drowsy driver, you will want to seek medical attention for any injuries, no matter how minor they may seem, file a police report and obtain a copy of the report, and contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible to help protect your legal rights and to determine if you have a case. You may want to avoid talking to insurance adjusters until you have consulted with an attorney.

A car accident attorney can do the following to help with your case:

  • Investigate your case and gather evidence such as witness testimonials, medical reports, and police reports.
  • Determine if the drowsy driver is responsible for the accident.
  • Calculate the value of your case.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
  • Represent you in all aspects of the case.

Determining If a Drowsy Driver Caused Your Accident

It is not easy to determine how drowsy a driver was when they caused your accident. Driver fatigue is dangerous and can be prevented, but many drivers still take the risk of driving while tired. An experienced car accident attorney can help determine if the driver who was tired can be held liable for your injuries. They may do this by asking questions and obtaining the necessary evidence to support your case.

In order to recover damages for injuries that resulted from a drowsy driver car accident, you will need to prove that the drowsy driver was negligent and caused the accident. An experienced car accident attorney can help prove that the drowsy driver was liable for your accident and can help you recover the full amount of compensation you deserve. You may be able to recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damages
  • Out-of-pocket costs


Have You Been Injured In A Wisconsin, Illinois or Iowa Car Accident?

If you've been injured in a car accident you should speak to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. You can contact us online or call our office directly at 800.800.5678 to schedule your free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers. We have been helping car accident victims since 1964 and service clients throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa

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Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.