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Why is fatigued driving so dangerous?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Car Accidents

Drivers must ensure that they’re in a fit mental state to drive. Being too exhausted to drive can lead to significant issues, including a longer reaction time and an inability to react appropriately to hazards.

Many people don’t realize that going too long without sleep can have the same effect on a driver as being impaired. By the time a driver has been awake for 18 hours, the effect is like having a blood-alcohol concentration of .05%, and that increases to .08% by the time they’re awake 20 hours.

Causes of fatigued driving

While most people think that lack of sleep is the only cause of fatigue, that’s not even close to accurate. Other causes, such as medical conditions or medication, can also lead to drowsiness. In some cases, a person’s sleep or work schedule can lead to fatigue. The body’s circadian rhythm dictates when it needs sleep. Being awake during that time can lead to natural fatigue. This means that swing and third-shift workers are at an increased risk of fatigue.

Microsleeps can be fatal

One primary concern inspired by fatigue while driving is the risk of microsleeps. These occur when a driver dozes off for a few seconds. Even a five-second microsleep can cause a significant safety issue. A vehicle going 55 miles per hour moves an entire football field length in that short time.

Fatigued driving crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries, so victims will likely need urgent medical care. Once they get the care they need, they may pursue a personal injury claim to help them recover the financial damages associated with the crash, if they were not the ones that caused their own harm.


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