Fatigued driving is a significant concern on the roads that’s often compared to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs due to its ability to impair judgment and reaction times severely. This driving state inspires reduced alertness and decreased physical and mental performance. It can lead to severe accidents.
Understanding what fatigued driving is, its causes and its risks is crucial for everyone who gets behind the wheel.
Causes of fatigued driving
Several factors contribute to fatigued driving. Lack of adequate sleep is the most obvious cause, but irregular sleep patterns and chronic sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, also play a significant role. Long working hours, especially for commercial drivers, and the monotony of driving long distances without breaks can contribute to fatigue. Lifestyle factors, including the use of medications that induce drowsiness, excessive alcohol consumption and poor dietary habits, can exacerbate the problem.
Microsleeps and their dangers
Microsleeps are brief, involuntary episodes of sleep that can last from a fraction of a second to up to 30 seconds. They often occur during monotonous activities like driving and are a significant indicator of severe fatigue. During a microsleep, a driver may experience a sudden lapse in attention, often without realizing it. These lapses can be incredibly dangerous, as even a few seconds of inattention at high speeds can lead to an accident.
Ineffectiveness of temporary measures
Many drivers resort to temporary measures like drinking coffee, opening windows, or turning on the radio to combat fatigue. However, these methods are largely ineffective in significantly reducing drowsiness or improving driving performance. They may provide a momentary sense of alertness but don’t address the underlying issue of sleep deprivation or fatigue.
Even the safest drivers can become victims of fatigued driving crashes if other drivers aren’t operating their vehicles safely. The medical costs and other financial damages inspired by a crash can be considerable, so these victims may benefit from pursuing a compensation claim. This should be done swiftly because of legal time limits set by Alabama law. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.