All motorists in Huntsville have a duty to drive carefully and obey traffic laws. Drivers who get behind the wheel while dangerously tired violate this duty. If you were hurt in a crash caused by a driver who was too drowsy to operate their vehicle safely, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses. The Huntsville drowsy driving car accident attorneys of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., want to help you demand it.
Since 1966, our firm has been committed to getting injured people in Huntsville the financial relief they deserve – a commitment that has helped us secure millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Let us put our dedication and experience to work for you.
Contact us today to discuss your case for free with a drowsy driving accident lawyer in Huntsville, Alabama.
Huntsville Drowsy Driving Statistics
Drowsy driving is all too common in Alabama and across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says approximately 91,000 reported motor vehicle accidents involved a drowsy or fatigued driver nationwide in one recent year. These accidents resulted in around 50,000 injuries and nearly 800 fatalities. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 25 adult drivers admits to having fallen asleep behind the wheel within the previous 30 days.
Signs Someone Is Driving While Too Tired
Signs that a driver may be too tired to safely operate a vehicle include the following:
- Frequent yawning and blinking
- Difficulty keeping your head up and eyes open
- Crossing road lines or drifting out of your lane
- Hitting the rumble strip or drifting off the pavement
- Difficulty keeping a constant speed or failing to keep pace with the traffic
- Difficulty recalling what happened in the last few minutes
- Missing exits
- Failing to obey traffic signals, including driving through stop signs or red lights or failing to hit the gas when the light turns green
- Failing to yield to other vehicles or pedestrians
- Slowed reaction times
- Daydreaming and wandering thoughts
- Feeling restless and irritable
Which Drivers Are Most Likely to Drive Fatigued?
While any driver is at risk of driving fatigued if they don’t get enough sleep, some drivers are more likely to drive while tired because of their jobs or life situations. These drivers include the following:
- Shift workers who work night shifts or have irregular shift hours
- Commercial drivers, especially long-haul truckers
- College students, who often sleep less than they should
- Business travelers and tourists who have been traveling for long periods or who have jet lag
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy
- Drivers taking sleep medications or prescription or over-the-counter medications that cause drowsiness or fatigue as a side effect
- Intoxicated drivers, since alcohol and certain drugs can cause drowsiness
How Drowsy Driving Accidents Happen in Huntsville
A driver who gets behind the wheel while fatigued is at risk of causing various accidents.
Some of the most common drowsy driving crashes in Huntsville include the following:
- Head-on collisions can occur when a fatigued driver crosses over the center line or median and into the path of oncoming traffic.
- Rear-end collisions can happen when a tired driver fails to react in time when traffic ahead has slowed or stopped.
- Intersection accidents are often caused by a drowsy driver failing to obey traffic signals such as a stop sign or red light or failing to yield the right-of-way when turning.
- Sideswipe collisions may occur if a drowsy driver drifts out of their lane and collides with the side of a vehicle in an adjacent lane.
- Road departure accidents are the result of a drowsy driver veering off the road.
- Pedestrian accidents may occur if a drowsy driver fails to yield to a pedestrian crossing the street or if the driver drifts off the side of the road where someone is walking, for example.
- Bicycle accidents can happen when a drowsy driver fails to yield to a cyclist or passes too closely to a cyclist.
Steps to Prevent Fatigued Driving Accidents
Drivers should follow these tips to reduce the chances of driving while drowsy and causing accidents:
- Make sure to get a full night’s sleep every night. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
- Eat a meal and stay hydrated when driving, especially on a long road trip.
- Pull off the road and into a parking lot if you begin to feel tired or sleepy, and take a nap that can provide you with a short burst of energy. Or consider stopping for the day and finding a place to get a full night’s sleep.
- Avoid driving at night, especially if you have an untreated sleep disorder or take medications that make you sleepy. Read your medication labels to check if they can cause drowsiness or fatigue as a side effect.
- If traveling with another driver on a long road trip, consider alternating driving duties so that you can take a break and get some rest.
- When you purchase a new vehicle, consider choosing one with the latest crash-avoidance technology, such as lane-departure warning, collision warning, and drowsiness alert systems.
- If you see another driver who appears tired or sleepy or drives erratically, do not try to flag them down. Stay away from their vehicle, and if necessary, notify the police and let them intervene.
Contact Our Huntsville Car Accident Lawyers Today
At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience advocating for the rights of injury victims like you. Let us help you pursue the compensation you need after an accident involving a drowsy driver.
Contact our Huntsville car accident lawyers today for a free, no-obligation case review.