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The Impact of Fatigue on Car Accidents 

Fatigue1 is by far a leading factor in car accidents that lead to severe injury and fatalities. By studying the statistics uncovered from these incidents, we’re all given more opportunities to develop more awareness of the realities that lead to these incidents.

We’re also empowered to better develop effective fatigue management strategies as a means of prevention.

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral serviceYou will see on that experienced legal professionals are prepared to help you dissect data and implement protocols to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road. Your first consultation is free.

1. The Scope of How Fatigue Affects Car Accidents

Fatigue is known to compromise a driver’s access to alertness, quick and sound decision-making, and the ability to correctly react to changing traffic conditions. There’s even a saying that driving fatigued is worse than driving drunk.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that driving drowsy causes an estimated 100,000 accidents annually in the United States alone. These incidents cause roughly 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries every year.

Comprehensively grasping the facts surrounding fatigue-related accidents can magnify the problem, allowing us a better view of how to manage and prevent them.

The following statistics are examples of data that can be used to do so:

2.1. Demographics

NHTSA data on fatigue-related accidents has uncovered the demographic groups most likely to drive while fatigued. The statistics also pinpoint some events and factors associated with the phenomenon. Three key findings were:

  • Commercial truck drivers, younger motorists, those with untreated sleep disorders, and shift workers are especially susceptible to drowsy driving
  • The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) states that 60% of adult drivers have driven while feeling drowsy, and around 37% of those admitted to having fallen asleep at the wheel.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that being awake for 24 hours impairs a driver’s abilities as much as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10%, surpassing the legal limit of 0.08% in most states

3. Fatigue Management Techniques

Preemptive fatigue management is crucial for diminishing the risks related to drowsy driving. Utilizing the following strategies can help avert fatigue-related accidents:

3.1. Sufficient Rest

Proper sleep hygiene is essential for ensuring access to alertness and concentration for drivers. Adults should aim for seven to nine hours of nightly sleep, while teenage motorists require eight to ten hours.

3.2. Regular Breaks

When out on long drives, stopping and rest consistently is vital. It’s suggested to do so every two hours or every 100 miles, whichever comes first.

Activities like stretching, walking, and taking in fresh air can help fight fatigue. Don’t be in a rush to return to the road.

3.3. Avoid Alcohol and Medication

Alcohol and certain medications can magnify the effects of fatigue. Refraining from consuming alcohol and consulting healthcare professionals regarding medications that may cause drowsiness2 is a top-level fatigue-preventing measure.

3.4. Rotate Driving Shifts

When planning a long trip, manage resources so that you have at least one co-motorist. Alternating driving shifts with a well-rested passenger is a superior situation to traveling alone.

This safety measure enables resting periods and helps keep drivers alert and up to task.

3.5. Recognize Warning Signs

Motorists should remain vigilant about the warning signs of fatigue. Frequent yawning, heavy eyelids, drifting in and out of lanes, or missing road exits are telltale signs.

Pull over and rest at the first sign of any of these situations present themselves.

Due to how fatigue significantly impacts road safety, having an established relationship with an attorney and medical referral service is a trump card motorists can have up their sleeves.

As the statistics have exhibited, the factors related to drowsy driving can be vast and dynamic. Let the 1-800-Injured advantage help keep you present and alert on your journeys.

1-800-Injured utilizes a network of many teams of attorneys and medical professionals. With 1-800 injured, motorists experiencing symptoms related to drowsiness can be more careful on and off the road. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service.

For assistance finding resources to help you with fatigued driving-related incidents, call 1-800-Injured today.

  1. Suresh, Subra. Fatigue of materials. Cambridge university press, 1998. ↩︎
  2. Sahayadhas, Arun, Kenneth Sundaraj, and Murugappan Murugappan. “Detecting driver drowsiness based on sensors: a review.” Sensors 12.12 (2012): 16937-16953. ↩︎

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