Our always-connected society has created bad habits in many of us, and some of these habits are dangerous on roadways. Multitasking, being constantly connected, sleeping odd hours, and driving long hours – these habits have made drowsy driving a growing epidemic. Widespread sleep deprivation leads to a frightening number of drowsy driving accidents across the country, from driving off the road to head-on collisions. Many states take action to promote drowsy driver awareness and prevention, but these accidents still occur every day. If you or someone you loved have suffered as a result of being involved in a drowsy driving accident, contact a Savannah, GA personal injury attorney with extensive experience successfully handling all types of car accident cases in Georgia.
Causes and Symptoms of Drowsy Driving
The people who are most susceptible to drowsy driving are those who get less than six hours of sleep, work more than 60 hours per week, drive long distances without rest, and drive during their normal sleep cycle. Common causes of driver drowsiness are lack of sleep, untreated sleep disorders, medication with a side effect of drowsiness, DUI, or shift work that forces workers to drive long hours.
Falling asleep behind the wheel can happen in the blink of an eye, despite many drivers’ best efforts to stay awake. Knowing the symptoms of drowsy driving can help you detect and manage it before you cause an accident. Common symptoms include:
- Losing track of time
- Inability to remember the last few minutes
- Difficulty paying attention to the road
- Slowed reaction time
- Inability to make good decisions
- Blurred vision
- Drifting in and out of lanes
- Frequent yawning or blinking
You may hear drowsy driving tips such as putting the windows down, listening to loud music, or talking with passengers; however, the only way to guarantee you don’t drive drowsy is to pull over and get sleep. If you’re struggling to stay awake behind the wheel, stop and rest for at least 20 minutes before continuing your drive. Pull into a hotel for the night or choose a secure rest stop to nap until you feel safe to drive.
Drowsy Driving Laws and Liability
If a negligent driver falls asleep behind the wheel and causes an accident, victims have a variety of laws protecting them. Drivers have a duty to remain alert and awake behind the wheel. This means taking action to prevent drowsy driving or pulling over if symptoms of drowsy driving occur.
Drivers can prevent drowsy driving accidents by getting more sleep, driving during hours they are naturally awake, checking warning labels before taking medications, and getting help for sleep disorders. Teenage drivers need eight to nine hours of sleep per day, while adult drivers need at least seven to function fully. If a driver fails to take reasonably action to prevent a drowsy driving accident, the courts can hold him or her responsible for resulting damages.
Drowsy driving cases are difficult to prove since it can be hard to find evidence that the driver was asleep behind the wheel. Unlike texting and driving, there is no proof that the driver was distracted at the time of the accident. Georgia has yet to pass any legislation addressing drowsy driving. If you’re involved in an accident you believe is the result of a drowsy driver, seek help from an expert Savannah auto accident attorney.
Your Savannah Car Accident Attorneys
At Roden + Love, LLC, Eric Roden and Tyler Love both understand that drivers are only human. When a driver could have prevented an accident but failed in his or her reasonable duty, however, we believe in securing justice for the resultant victims. Drowsy driving is a growing epidemic across the nation. Take steps toward detecting and preventing drowsy driving to keep others safe on the roadway.
If you see someone swerving on the road or exhibiting other signs of drowsy driving, notify the police and steer clear of the vehicle. If you’ve been involved in a drowsy driving or other negligence-based car accident, contact us for legal representation.