Modesto Fatigued Driving Accident Lawyer
What to Do If You’ve Been Hit by a Drowsy Driver
Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver? At the Law Offices of Dean Petrulakis in Modesto, our fatigued driving accident lawyer helps clients receive the compensation needed to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses throughout Northern California. If you or someone you know was hit by a motorist who fell asleep at the wheel, we can build you a case that will allow you to collect the settlement money you need in order to recover from your injuries to the best of your ability.
Fatigued Driving Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes approximately 100,000 crashes per year in the United States. In 2017, the year from which the most recent data is available, 91,000 motor vehicle accidents involved drowsy driving, killing 795 people.
The National Safety Council claims that motorists are three times more likely to be in a car wreck if they are feeling fatigued.
How Fatigue Affects Driving Ability
It may seem harmless to drive a car while feeling a little sleepy, but sleep deprivation can actually be as detrimental to your driving ability as having several beers. According to the National Sleep Foundation, studies suggest that staying awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, which is the legal limit in all U.S. states. Drowsiness impairs judgment and slows reaction times, just like alcohol and many types of drugs.
Risk Factors of Fatigue
According to the National Sleep Foundation, any of the following factors can contribute to fatigued driving:
- Driving when you would usually be sleeping, such as in the middle of the night
- Getting less than seven hours of sleep
- Having an untreated sleep disorder
- Traveling through different time zones
- Working long hours, multiple shifts, and/or night shifts
Signs of Drowsiness
You should always think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car of you are sleep deprived. If you are driving on little sleep, try to stay aware of how you are feeling in case you need to pull over for a stretch or a quick nap.
The following are common signs of drowsy driving you can pay attention to:
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Difficulty maintaining a steady speed
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles
- Drifting out of your lane
- Feeling restless, irritable, and/or aggressive
- Frequent yawning
- Missing road signs, signals, or turns
- Nodding off
- Slow reaction time
- Trouble focusing
- Turning up the radio
If you think you may be too tired to drive, ask yourself: Do I need to get in my car right now? If you’re not in a hurry, consider postponing your drive in favor of a nap. Or carpool with a friend, call a cab, or use a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft (if available in your area). Drowsy driving is too risky to chance.
Who is Most at Risk?
Anyone is susceptible to the effects of sleep deprivation and drowsy driving. However, some groups of people are more at risk than others, including:
- Business travelers: People who regularly travel for business tend to frequently cross time zones and work long hours, putting them at risk.
- Commercial drivers: People who drive for a living are often behind the wheel for hours at end. Some may even regularly drive at night, as is the case for commercial truck drivers.
- New parents: People who are taking care of a newborn baby or young children are more likely to be sleep deprived than the average adult.
- People with untreated sleep disorders: People with sleep disorders like insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and others that are left untreated are very likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.
- People working long hours: Employees who work overtime, double shifts, night shifts, and/or more than one job are six times more likely than average to crash due to drowsiness.
- Young motorists: Young people, especially males aged 16-25, are more likely to crash due to a combination of their inexperience behind the wheel and likelihood of driving late at night.
Contact a Modesto Attorney
As you would after any car accident in California, it is best to consult with a drowsy driving accident lawyer in Modesto following your accident with a fatigued driver. Our Modesto fatigued driving accident attorney is available at all hours to provide legal advice and can also assist with legal paperwork, collecting evidence to build your case, interviewing witnesses, and, if needed, representing you in court.
Want to know more? Contact us now to schedule your free consultation with a Modesto drowsy driving accident attorney.