Driving While Drowsy a Leading Cause of Accidents - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Driving While Drowsy a Leading Cause of Accidents


Drivers who do not get enough sleep are responsible for at least 20 percent of the motor vehicle accidents in the country and are as dangerous on the road as someone who is driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol according to a spokesman for the Canadian Automobile Association. Officials in Ontario reportthat 65 percent of fatal highway crashes and 42 percent of those only causing injuries on highways in the province were caused by fatigued drivers. Young adults between 17-24 years of age are at a greater risk than other drivers of being in a collision in which fatigue or drowsiness was a factor. Recognizing the signs of drowsy driving can help drivers and their passengers to stay safe on the highways.

What makes a drowsy driver a danger on the road?

A person who has not had enough sleep is at risk of falling asleep while driving a car, truck or other motor vehicle. The dangers associated with falling asleep while behind the wheel of a fast moving vehicle on a highway surrounded by other vehicles is obvious, but fatigue and drowsiness can create other dangers, including:

  • Impaired ability to pay attention and focus on the task of driving and what is happening on the road.
  • Slowed ability to react to road conditions and events, including affecting a driver’s ability to brake suddenly or steer around hazards.
  • Impaired decision-making ability.

It is not just a lack of sleep that can impair the abilities of a person to drive. Medications that cause drowsiness can increase the risk of a driver causing an accident as can a sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.

Recognizing when drowsiness makes you a risk at the wheel

The problem in determining whether you are too sleepy or fatigued to drive is not a lack of warning signs. Some of the common signs of being too tired to drive include:

  • Frequent yawning or eye blinking
  • Not paying attention
  • Inability to stay in your lane of travel
  • Drifting onto the shoulder of the road
  • Being unable to what you saw or did over the last few miles
  • Difficulty keeping your head upright

The signs of driver fatigue are usually there for you to see, but the problem is that drivers ignore them or attempt to fight through them and continue driving. Instead of rolling down the vehicle’s windows or increasing the volume of the radio, you should stop driving and find a safe place to take a nap.

Steps to take to avoid driver fatigue

Although 60 percent of Canadians admitted to driving when they were too fatigued to safely do so, there are some steps you can take to avoid it from happening to you, including:

  • Get enough sleep before leaving on long road trips
  • See a doctor for treatment of sleep apnea or other sleeping disorders
  • Check with your doctor to make none of the medications you are taking could make you drowsy
  • Ride with another licensed driver to share the driving responsibilities on long trips

Researchers know a person is not as alert between 2-4 p.m. and 2-4 a.m., so avoiding driving during those hours or taking frequent breaks could make you a safer driver. You should also be alert for other drivers on the road during those times who might be suffering from fatigue.

Ontario personal injury lawyers can help

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation for individuals suffering injuries in accidents caused by the negligence of drivers impaired by fatigue. If you have been injured in an accident, you could have a claim for compensation. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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