There isn’t ever a good reason to get behind the wheel without getting enough sleep. A person who drives while they’re fatigued can be just as deadly as a drunk driver, so all drivers must ensure that they’re not too tired when they drive.
A person who has gone 20 hours without sleep is as impaired as a driver who has a blood-alcohol concentration of .08%, which is legally drunk. There aren’t any quick ways to combat fatigue, so drivers shouldn’t ever think that they can just grab a cup of coffee or take a caffeine pill. Instead, they’ll need to get sleep.
Drivers who are fatigued are three times more likely to get into a crash than a person who isn’t fatigued. One reason for this is that a driver who’s especially fatigued is likely to have micro-sleeps, which are bursts of sleep that last four to five seconds. The issue with this is that if they’re traveling at 55 miles per hour, they will go the length of a football field during those few seconds.
There’s some debate around how prevalent this issue is. It’s estimated that around 328,000 crashes are attributed to drowsy driving each year, according to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that the figure is closer to around 100,000 but that only includes crashes that resulted in a police report.
Individuals who are struck by a fatigued driver might suffer serious injuries. If this happens to you, get medical care and then explore your right to seek compensation. You shouldn’t be left holding the financial responsibility for the crash.