The National Sleep Foundation, the NHTSA, police authorities, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, and most other experts agree that driving drowsy is as dangerous as driving drunk. Many Miami car accidents and truck accidents take place because tired drivers get behind the wheel. Commercial truck drivers are especially at risk of accidents cause by tired driving. Since commercial truck drivers work odd hours, must drive long distances, and must meet strict deadlines, they are more likely than many other drivers to drive tired. There are many reasons why driving tired can lead to more Miami car and truck accidents:
1) Drowsiness causes awareness to decrease. A commercial truck driver who is very tired needs to focus on trying to stay awake, and tiredness can mean that the driver notices less of what is going on around them. This lack of awareness can easily lead to a Miami pedestrian accident or other accident.
2) Drowsiness slows reaction times. Studies have shown that reaction times are impaired similarly by fatigue as by drinking alcohol. Slower reaction times can mean that drivers do not have adequate time to take collision evasion action or drive defensively to prevent an accident. In a commercial truck, this can be especially deadly since trucks respond more slowly than passenger vehicles.
3) Drowsiness impairs judgment. Research suggests that judgment is as impaired by fatigue as it is by alcohol. Tired drivers may misjudge distances or make poor choices about speed and traffic signs, which can lead to accidents.
4) Tiredness may lead to vision impairment. In cases where someone does not get adequate sleep over a longer period of time, vision problems may occur. Eyes can get fatigued and dry, leading to blurry vision. In cases of pronounced sleep deprivation, a person may see flashes of light or experience other vision problems.
5) Fatigue can lead to delays in processing information. When the mind does not get adequate rest, it does not process data as quickly. This can make drivers slow to respond to traffic signs and other important traffic information.
6) Drowsiness can lead to “micro sleeps.” One of the most dangerous things about fatigue is that eventually the body needs to get sleep so badly that it effectively shuts down. Usually, this occurs with tiny micro sleeps of only a few seconds. In many cases, people are not even aware that they have fallen asleep for a few seconds. A truck driver, however, can travel the length of a few football fields in a micro sleep. This is truly frightening, and of course can easily lead to Miami traffic accidents. Eventually, the body needs sleep so badly that it shuts down completely, leading the driver to fall asleep at the wheel and lose complete control of the vehicle. In this situation, multi vehicle accidents or rollovers can easily occur.
7) Fatigue leads to mood swings and emotional upset. If you have ever woken up upset and grumpy because you did not get enough sleep, you already know that lack of sleep can lead to emotional upset. Someone who does not get adequate sleep may be angry, upset, and more likely to experience road rage.
There are many federal laws which are designed to ensure that commercial truck drivers drive well-rested. However, it is difficult to legislate sleep. Many Miami truck accidents still occur due to drowsy driving. If you are injured in this type of accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. You may qualify for more than you realize.