Drowsy and fatigued driving ranks among one of the greatest dangers on the road. Drivers who work night shifts or may be traveling long distances are generally at a greater risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
When this happens, the results can be devastating because drowsy driving accidents tend to be more severe than other types of crashes. They commonly involve the drowsy driver crossing a center line and causing head-on collisions, resulting in catastrophic if not fatal injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a fatigued driver in the Houston area, contact The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian today to speak with an attorney about your case.
Common Signs of Fatigued / Drowsy Driving
When you are on the highway or a backroad around Houston, watch out for drivers who are displaying the warning signs of drowsy driving. Some research has shown that driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Here are some common signs of drowsy driving:
- Lane drifting. You’ve probably seen it before, likely at night. You are driving down the road and you notice the car in front of you veering side to side, only correcting course upon hitting the rumble strips on the shoulder. Maybe it has even happened to you. As a driver gets tired and begins to nod off, the car will gradually drift to one side. As the vehicle changes course, the driver wakes up and pulls back into the lane.
- Variations of driving speed. This goes hand-in-hand with lane drifting. As one begins to feel the effects of drowsy driving, the vehicle will not only veer from side to side, but the driver will often slow down and speed up at irregular intervals as he or she nods off and wakes up.
- Loss of concentration. Have you ever been driving for a long distance and lost track of time? Maybe you forgot the last 10 minutes of travel. You stop to get some coffee and can’t even remember the last few minutes of driving. This is a serious problem because it is a late indication of exhaustion.
- Constant yawning. We all know yawning is a sign that we are likely getting tired. So, when a driver begins to yawn and can’t seem to stop, it’s a good sign that sleep should take priority over driving.
- Drugs and alcohol. Most people already know that it’s unwise and unsafe to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is partly because they can make you drowsy. Of course, they carry other risks as well, but the drowsiness effect of alcohol and even many prescription medications can be deadly if you fall asleep at the wheel.
- Hallucinations. A very late sign of fatigue, hallucinations are a cue for you to stop immediately. If you are ever driving and begin to see lights that aren’t there or you notice images on the road that are not there, it is likely a symptom of extreme exhaustion. You need to pull over at the next safe opportunity and immediately get some rest.
Preventing Fatigued and Drowsy Driving
If you want to know how to avoid driving while fatigued, here are a few key tips. Naturally, the first tip is to not put yourself in situations where drowsy driving could happen. Otherwise, consider just a few suggestions:
- Get a good night’s rest. The average American does not get enough sleep at night. According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, about 40 percent of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. This is a problem. Without adequate sleep, you run the risk of having heightened irritability, higher chances of heart attack and obesity, as well as a higher chance of falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Schedule driving breaks. If you know you will be driving a long distance, such as a road trip, then schedule to take regular breaks. Build these breaks into your itinerary so that you are sure to follow through.
- Avoid driving alone on long or overnight trips. No doubt, some of the hardest trips to do are long drives by yourself. This is especially true if you are planning on driving at night or through flat or mundane scenery. Consider riding with a friend if you need to make such a trip, or at a minimum have someone available to call you with a reminder to stop and take a break. Sometimes setting a scheduled five-minute phone call with a friend every two to three hours is a good way to remember to stop. However, beware that it’s not enough to just talk while you drive. This actually can distract you even more, making a crash more likely, rather than less likely.
Compensation for Your Fatigued Driving Accident Claim
If someone fell asleep or crossed a center line due to driving fatigued, you need an experienced legal team to make sure the other driver and his or her insurance company do not attempt to avoid liability. A skilled Houston drowsy driving accident lawyer can help you demand maximum compensation after a crash, including payment for:
- Lost income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Damage to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
Call our law firm today to discuss the details of your fatigued driving accident. We are here to help you pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take After a Houston Auto Accident
If you have suffered an injury due to a negligent or careless driver, here are some important steps you should take to protect your rights:
- Call 911 immediately. Do not listen to anyone who wants to leave the scene without getting police assistance or who suggest not telling the authorities. The police need to come to the scene so they can talk to witnesses, gather information, and create a formal crash report.
- Get medical care right away. Do not delay. The longer you put off getting medical help, the more likely an insurance company will deny your claim and argue that you are just fine.
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations. Unless you have received competent advice from a different physician or gotten a second opinion, you should be listening to the advice given by your treating physician. Their suggestions and advice will go a long way to helping you get better and helping you recover compensation.
- Get the assistance of our skilled drowsy driving accident lawyers. Call The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian as soon as possible, so that our firm can begin tracking your medical care and coordinating with skilled experts to document all the evidence related to your crash. While you are recovering physically, our team will be doing the work needed behind the scenes to fight for your financial recovery, as well.
Our Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Answer Your Questions
If you were injured by a fatigued driver, you probably have a lot of questions. For instance:
- How do I prove the other driver was at fault?
- Is falling asleep at the wheel negligence?
- Is there a way to hold the other driver responsible for the drowsy driving accident?
- What happens if the other driver denies being drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel?
The fact is that driving when you are too tired to safely operate a vehicle is negligent. In fact, in some instances, it is downright reckless.
At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian, we understand our clients. We know that after a serious crash, there are a number of things people want to know. There isn’t always a lot of time to make plans because crash victims generally need immediate medical treatment and have insurance companies calling at all hours to try to get a recorded statement.
For these reasons, our Houston fatigued driving accident lawyers are trained to respond quickly to requests for help. We often meet clients in their homes or visit them in the hospital. It is all part of our commitment to making sure that we are able to provide high-quality customer service.
Contact Our Houston Fatigued / Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyers
At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian, we know about the unique and frustrating issues that often come up when trying to negotiate a settlement involving fatigued driving. As experienced Houston auto accident attorneys, we also understand that after a crash, most people are struggling financially to pay medical bills and get by without income from work. Therefore, we never ask our clients to pay big upfront retainers or gather evidence on their own. Instead, we advance all the costs of pursuing justice your behalf, and we only take a fee if we succeed in obtaining compensation for your injuries.
Call our firm today to schedule your own personalized free consultation with a member of our experienced team today. There is absolutely no risk and no obligation, but time is limited. If you do not take action in time, you could lose your rights forever.