How fatigue impacts drivers

Operating a motor vehicle after being awake for more than 20 hours is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent. This is the legal limit in New York and all other states. Furthermore, a person is three times more likely to get into a crash when he or she drives while tired.

In some cases, tired drivers will experience periods of micro-sleep. This is when a person falls asleep for four or five seconds, and a car can travel up to 100 yards in this period of time. There are ways that a person can avoid driving while tired. For instance, an individual can take a nap or otherwise get more sleep prior to driving. Ideally, an adult will sleep at least seven hours per night. Drivers can take advantage of lane departure or drowsy driver features if their vehicles are equipped with them.

Employers and colleges are encouraged to offer resources to workers and students who may be sleep deprived. It is not uncommon for college students to routinely sleep as little as six hours per night. Those who take medication should be sure that they are familiar with its side effects. Updated labeling guidelines may also make it easier to determine when it is safe to drive after taking a certain medication.

A driver who causes an auto accident while tired may be considered negligent in allowing it to happen. This is important because an accident victim might collect compensation. Compensation may be available to help recoup lost wages or cover current or future medical bills related to the crash. An attorney may help an accident victim gather evidence of negligence or otherwise help a person obtain a favorable outcome in a personal injury case.

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