3 things to know about fatigued driving

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Fatigued driving is an often overlooked yet critical safety issue on today’s roads. It’s more than just feeling drowsy behind the wheel. It affects reaction time, decision-making and overall awareness, which increases the risk of accidents.

Fatigue can accumulate subtly over time, arising from consistent sleep deprivation or lifestyle habits that impede restorative sleep. It can gradually impair driving abilities.

1: Fatigue comes from more than lack of sleep

Fatigue in driving scenarios isn’t always the direct result of insufficient sleep. Extended work shifts, prolonged mental concentration and stressful life events significantly contribute to driver fatigue.

Fatigue can build up stealthily and can severely affect a driver’s reflexes, judgment and alertness. These factors often disrupt sleep patterns, leading to a chronic state of tiredness.

2: Short bursts of sleep can be catastrophic

Microsleeps occur when drivers experience momentary lapses in consciousness. These brief lapses significantly impair a driver’s focus and responsiveness, potentially leading to severe road incidents.

A microsleep of five seconds can lead to a vehicle traveling the length of a football field if it’s going 55 miles per hour. That’s a considerable distance in which something catastrophic can occur.

3: Temporary measures don’t improve safety

Drivers often resort to temporary fixes like caffeine intake, cold air exposure or loud music to ward off sleepiness. These methods don’t effectively address the core issue of fatigue.

They may offer a fleeting boost in alertness but fail to enhance the driver’s overall capacity for safe driving. Such tactics can even instill a false sense of security, leading drivers to overestimate their alertness levels. The only truly effective solution is going to sleep.

Victims of fatigued driving can suffer serious injuries that require considerable medical care. Seeking compensation can cover those expenses, but this must be done quickly because of time limits built into North Carolina law.