Understanding the dangers of drowsy driving in Arizona

Due to the effects of drowsiness, people’s ability to drive safely may be impaired, which may increase their risk of causing serious auto accidents.

The dangers of falling asleep while driving are somewhat obvious. Drivers who are not awake cannot control their vehicles, which may result in them drifting into other lanes of traffic or off of the road entirely. Many Arizona drivers, however, fail to recognize that driving while fatigued or overly tired is also hazardous. The National Sleep Foundation reports that drowsiness contributes to 12.5 percent of all car accidents that result in injuries requiring hospitalization. Furthermore, drowsy drivers directly cause 16.5 percent of all fatal collisions.

Why is drowsy driving dangerous?

Although it may seem that the most serious effect is heavy eyes, fatigue and sleepiness can cause a number of impairments. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowsiness may reduce people's attentiveness, impair their judgment and slow their reactions to situations requiring them to suddenly steer or brake. Due to these, and other effects, drowsy drivers' ability to safely operate their vehicles may be affected. As a result, they may be more likely to cause auto accidents.

What causes drowsy driving?

There are numerous factors that contribute to people getting behind the wheel when they are fatigued or overly tired. Some of the most common of these include the following:

  • Lack of adequate rest
  • Untreated sleep disorders
  • Driving patterns

Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out that using certain medications and consuming alcohol may increase the effects of drowsiness for drivers.

Who is at risk for driving while drowsy?

Generally, drowsiness is a problem that can affect anyone. This is particularly true for those who do not get at least six hours of sleep each night and those who experience other contributing factors.

According to the NHTSA, research has found the risk is more significant for some groups than it is for others. Shift workers, or people who work long or irregular hours, may be more likely to drive while drowsy than other motorists. The potential for drowsy driving may also be increased for people who are suffering from untreated or undiagnosed sleep disorders. Young drivers, especially young men, may also have an enhanced risk for drowsy driving.

Seeking legal counsel

Due to drowsy driving crashes in Arizona, people may suffer injuries that require medical treatment and time off of work to recover. As a result, they may incur undue medical costs, as well as lost income. In some circumstances, however, the drowsy drivers may be held financially responsible for the damages resulting from such accidents. Therefore, those who have experienced such situations may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A lawyer may help them understand their rights and explain their options for pursuing compensation.