Driving while over-tired is a severe condition. Being too tired behind the wheel can make you delirious and make it difficult to operate heavy machinery such as a truck or automobile. Trucks and tractor-trailers are especially susceptible to driving while drowsy. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates as many as 100,000 accidents per year can be traced to drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving is a common cause of truck accidents in the US. Many truck drivers are expected to work long and draining hours and are on a tight deadline to meet a tight mileage requirement every day. This, unfortunately, can cause drivers to fall asleep behind the wheel or to suffer delayed reaction time due to over-tiredness. Falling asleep behind the wheel is entirely preventable but, unfortunately, takes innocent lives every year. The truck driving lifestyle emphasizes working long hours, meeting deadlines, and going great distances in the shortest amount of time possible. Many truck drivers don’t get the sleep they need, and become delirious or even fall asleep behind the wheel in more severe cases.
For truck drivers and regular motorists alike, it’s essential to stay alert while driving, especially on long and draining road trips. As with drinking, never get behind the wheel of a car if you feel that you are not capable of performing to the best of your ability. Being over-tired is similar to being intoxicated in that you cannot give your full attention to the task at hand. Always ensure that you’ve had a good night’s sleep- at least 8 hours is necessary to be able to focus entirely.
Always check prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine information to be sure that side effects do not include drowsiness. Most medications will consist of a warning if it’s not safe to drive while taking them. When possible, avoid driving through the night as daylight naturally helps you stay alert awake.
“Easy” Solutions Can Be Just as Dangerous
Drinking coffee or energy drinks can be a short-term solution to staying awake behind the wheel, and can be a useful quick fix for staying alert while driving. But it’s worthwhile to note that caffeine and sugary drinks almost always cause a crash afterward, which can make you more tired than you were before you drank them. If you drink caffeine while extremely sleep-deprived, you may not feel the effects of the caffeine at all. Developing good sleeping habits and sticking to a stable sleep schedule are two acceptable practices that can keep you well rested for the long run and driving at top performance.
When truck drivers operate their trucks while drowsy, it’s easy to swerve and veer off in the wrong direction. If you are driving near a truck that frequently hits the rumble strip or seems to be swerving, it’s best to pull over and wait for the truck to pass to avoid the likelihood of an accident.
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a truck accident caused by drowsy driving, stay calm. The qualified team of Costa Mesa personal injury lawyers are accustomed to this unique practice area and will advocate for you every step of the way. Call us any hour of the day, seven days a week.