Half of all drivers admit to driving while drowsy at least once. For truck drivers who spend hours on the road every working day, that number may increase substantially. Unfortunately, drowsy driving increases accident risk and often increases the severity of accidents. Tired truck drivers put everyone on the road around them at risk for a number of reasons, which we’ll examine further below.
Drowsy Truck Drivers Pay Less Attention
Drowsy drivers often pay less attention to what’s going on around them on the road, from vehicles merging in front of them to the normal flow of traffic. They may miss pedestrians in crosswalks or fail to see bicyclists and motorcyclists at all. Drowsy truck drivers, in particular, may be less likely to note small vehicles traveling beside them, especially those that land in their blind spots. Unfortunately, drowsy drivers may also struggle to pay attention to road signs and traffic signals. They may miss their exit, struggle to respond appropriately to yield signs, or stop late at stop signs and red lights. All of these hazards create increased danger for everyone on the road with the truck driver.
Drowsy Truck Drivers Have Slowed Reactions
When you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle—especially a big truck—you may need to react quickly at any moment. Truck drivers, who drive larger vehicles than most of the other automobiles on the road, need to remain alert so that they can brake hard and fast or steer their vehicles away from potential accident hazards. Drowsy truck drivers may not have fast enough reactions to slow their vehicle or direct it away from road hazards as needed, substantially increasing their risk of accident.
Drowsy Truck Drivers Make Poor Decisions
Excessive tiredness, especially as related to ongoing sleep issues or too many hours awake, may leave drivers struggling to make good decisions. On the road, truck drivers may need to make as many as 180 decisions per minute. They need to calculate how fast it’s safe to travel, how to maneuver the vehicle in order to avoid an accident, and how much following distance they need to safely follow another vehicle. Unfortunately, drowsy driving acts much like intoxication on the brain: as drowsiness increases, truck drivers struggle more to make wise decisions. They may not correctly calculate how long it will actually take to stop the truck if an accident looms, or they may fail to hold to an appropriate rate of speed while traveling down the interstate or navigating smaller roads.
Get Legal Help After a Truck Accident Involving a Drowsy Driver
Drowsy truck drivers may cause or fail to prevent more accidents than alert drivers who can more effectively determine what’s going on around them. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a drowsy truck driver, you may need legal help to assist you in obtaining the compensation you need. Contact Meldon Law online or call today at (954) 334-1276 to schedule your free consultation and discuss the process of gaining compensation for your accident and injuries.