Motor vehicle crashes caused by a lack of sleep are responsible for a large number of accidents. Tired drivers put themselves and other road users at risk when they continue to drive even when they are fatigued. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to drowsy drivers.
How Fatigue Affects Drivers
Drowsiness is a leading cause of accidents in the country. Fatigue affects drivers in the following ways:
- It slows down their reaction time. A drowsy driver is not able to react quickly enough to avoid a sudden danger or risk. He is therefore more likely to be involved in collisions.
- Drowsiness interferes with the driver’s attention span. A fatigued driver is not able to keep his attention on the road. He is less likely to notice a potential collision – and certainly will not notice it as quickly as an alert driver. Failure to notice a danger or a delay in recognizing a potential risk reduces the chances of the driver reacting in time to prevent an accident.
- Fatigue affects your ability to process information correctly and quickly. Even if the driver sees the hazardous condition, he is less likely to recognize it as such. A drowsy driver is therefore less likely to react in time to avoid the collision.
- Drowsiness affects a driver’s ability to make decisions. Even when the driver realizes that he is about to cause an accident, he is less likely to react in a way that would avoid or prevent the collision. In fact, a drowsy driver may react in a way that will have even worse consequences.
Pedestrian Accidents Caused by Fatigued Drivers
Pedestrian accidents caused by fatigued drivers often result in serious injuries. The slow reaction of a drowsy driver may result in the collision with the pedestrian happening at a higher speed than if the driver had been alert. And, since pedestrians have no protection in a collision with a heavy and fast moving motor vehicle, the collision is likely to cause serious damage.
Fatigued drivers may cause pedestrian accidents by:
- Crossing from one lane into another unexpectedly and colliding with other vehicles that may in turn hit the pedestrians on the side walk
- Running red lights or stop signs at crosswalks
- Running off the road and hitting pedestrians on sidewalks
You may not be able to prove that the driver who caused the collision and resulting injury was drowsy as there are no tests to prove this. However, your lawyer may be able to track the driver’s activities leading up to the collision to show the likelihood that he was fatigued. Further, an accident reconstruction expert should be able to show that the driver was negligent (regardless of fatigue) allowing the victim to recover damages.
If you or a loved one was injured as a pedestrian, you should retain an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon after the incident as possible. Your attorney will advise you on the best approach to your case. He will help you build your claim and improve your chances of recovering the full amount of compensation you are due for your injuries.