You may be surprised to learn that driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to overlook the risks of driving while fatigued, particularly if you’re a busy individual trying to balance a packed schedule. Too often we see seriously injured clients who were hurt by a driver that was over-worked or did not get adequate sleep.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is responsible for an average of 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,500 fatalities each year. This is a sobering statistic and one that highlights the very real dangers of getting behind the wheel when you’re not fully alert.
There are a number of reasons why driving while tired is so hazardous. For one, it can severely impact your ability to concentrate on the road, react to unexpected situations, and make smart decisions. When you’re tired, you might have difficulty judging distances, perceiving danger, and accurately responding to other drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists.
Fatigue can also lead to slower reaction times, poor hand-eye coordination, and reduced muscle control. These factors can make it difficult to maneuver your vehicle safely, navigate sharp turns, or avoid obstacles on the road. You may even fall asleep behind the wheel, which can be deadly.
Moreover, tired driving can have serious consequences on your mental health. Sleep deprivation can affect your mood, cognitive function, and memory, which can impair your judgment and decision-making abilities. If you’re not well-rested, you may be more prone to making mistakes, overlooking road hazards, or engaging in risky driving behaviors.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of driving while tired. The most obvious solution is to get enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re driving long distances, take regular breaks to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and grab a quick nap if needed. You can also try drinking caffeine or taking a short power nap before getting behind the wheel.
Finally, be vigilant of the warning signs of fatigue while driving. These can include yawning, blurry vision, difficulty keeping your eyes open, and drifting out of your lane. If you experience any of these symptoms, pull over to a safe location and take a break.
Driving while tired is a serious issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. By taking the necessary precautions and ensuring you’re well-rested before getting behind the wheel, you can help reduce the risk of drowsy driving and keep yourself and others safe on the roads.
We hope to spread this message to inform everyone about the dangers of driving while tired. While it might seem very different to you, riving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Colorado, there are certain instances when a Court will authorize exemplary or “punitive” damages when a driver exhibited willful or wanton conduct. These damages are meant to punish as a deterrent for certain unwanted behavior. “Willful and wanton conduct” means “conduct purposefully committed which the actor must have realized as dangerous, done heedlessly and recklessly, without regard to consequences, or of the rights and safety of others, particularly the plaintiff.” C.R.S. § 13-21-102(1)(b). This definition has been interpreted to include conduct that “creates substantial risk of harm to another, and is purposely performed with an awareness of the risk and disregard of the consequences.” This is important because exemplary damages are not typically covered by auto insurance in Colorado. If you knowingly and purposefully drive your vehicle when you know you are tired or did not get adequate sleep, and as a result, hurt someone, you may be labile for exemplary damages in additional to traditional civil liability.