The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving can have deadly consequences. As Consumer Reports warns, about a fifth of all car accidents that occur over the course of the year involve a driver who is fatigued. A driver who nods off for even five seconds could cause a devastating crash, as it is possible to travel the length of a full football field in this five second period of time.

When a driver causes a collision while he is fatigued, the drowsy driver should be held accountable. A Janesville auto accident lawyer can provide assistance to crash victims in taking legal action to pursue a case against a fatigued driver. Unfortunately, one issue that can arise is that it can be difficult to show fatigue was the cause of the collision. Drivers may not admit they’re tired and there’s no objective test that shows fatigue.

There are, however, some new technologies which can be effective both at detecting when a driver is fatigued and in preventing drowsy driving collisions. Consumer reports looks at some of the developments in the field of drowsy driving crash prevention, as well as at some laws which states are beginning to pass to try to discourage motorists from staying behind the wheel when they are too tired to be safe drivers.


Several different gadgets are on the market now to help people stay awake and alert while driving. Examples include devices that you put into your ear to make a loud sound if your head begins to nod forward, as well as smartphone apps that can be set to blast an alarm randomly. Unfortunately, these technologies may make drivers feel secure but may not actually work very well to prevent drowsy driving collisions.

There are technologies in cars that could prove effective at preventing crashes by fatigued drivers. For example, some cars have advanced safety features so the vehicle can detect when your driving patterns indicate you have become overtired. The cars do different things when they suspect fatigue, like sounding alerts and turning on a coffee cup icon on the dash, or directing you to a rest area using the vehicle’s navigation system.

While these technologies can help you realize when your behavior is getting dangerous, the choice will still remain with the driver to actually pull over and get enough rest to avoid creating a hazard behind the wheel. A cup of coffee could help you stay alert, but it could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour for caffeine to kick in- and there is no substitute for getting enough rest.

As the importance of being awake and alert becomes ever more apparent as thousands are hurt or killed in drowsy driving crashes, some states have passed laws that allow police to ticket people who drive erratically and admit to being awake for 24 hours or more.  Of course, drivers often won’t admit they are too tired.

Whether a driver specifically violates a law on drowsy driving or not, the fact is that driving while fatigued can be considered negligent. Crash victims harmed by a tired driver can pursue a case for compensation and an auto accident lawyer can help victims prove the other driver was to blame for the accident occurring.

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