Truckers often spend many consecutive hours on the road. While it’s all part of the job, it has the potential to result in fatigue. When this happens, the trucker has two options: Stay on the road and hope for the best, or pull over and get some rest.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving was responsible for more than 70,000 accidents in 2013 alone. These accidents resulted in approximately 800 fatalities and 44,000 injuries.
What types of people drive drowsy?
Anyone can become tired when driving, but these types of people are most likely to run into trouble:
- Commercial drivers who spend many hours on the road
- Shift workers, such as those who work through the night
- Anyone with a sleep disorder
- Drivers who take medication that can cause drowsiness
Understanding the warning signs
Since drowsy driving is so dangerous, it’s critical to understand the warning signs. Here are five things that point toward your being too drowsy to operate a motor vehicle:
- Missing your exit
- Yawning time and time again
- Difficulty remembering what you experienced over the last few miles on the road
- Drifting out of your lane (such as onto the shoulder of the road)
- Irritability and aggression
It’s possible to prevent drowsy driving
The good thing about drowsy driving is that it’s easy to prevent. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Get enough sleep before driving, especially if you know you’ll be on the road for an extended period of time
- Take breaks when necessary (there are laws in place for truckers)
- Receive treatment for a sleep disorder
- Don’t take medication that makes you sleepy
- Don’t drink alcohol
The most important thing to remember is that everyone has the ability to pull over if they’re too tired to drive.
If you’re involved in a car-truck accident, perhaps because the trucker fell asleep at the wheel, your health is at risk. You need to call 911, receive medical treatment at the scene and visit a local hospital for a full examination.
As you recover, review your insurance policy and consult with your agent. Also, read the police report to learn more about the cause of the crash. The information you collect can help you protect your legal rights.