Fatigued drivers are dangerous drivers and significantly contribute to the risk of an accident on the roads in Savannah. Fatigued driving is commonly considered a behavior that is limited to commercial truck drivers who attempt to push through long shifts in order to deliver their goods quickly. In reality, driving while fatigued impacts non-commercial drivers as well and is actually more common than many people would imagine. According to a survey completed by the CDC, drowsy driving was the cause of at least 800 fatal car accidents in 2013 and resulted in at least 44,000 injuries. These numbers are significant and help to outline the dangers of driving while fatigued.
One of the challenges of proving that a driver was too tired to operate their vehicle is that there are currently no laws that prohibit this specific behavior. While it is easy for the police to test a driver who they believe is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, no such test exists for fatigued drivers. For this reason, if you have been injured in a car accident, it is advisable to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help evaluate and support your claim against a fatigued driver.
How to Prevent Drowsy Driving
Although you do not have the power to control the behavior of other drivers on the road, you do have the ability to prevent yourself from driving while fatigued. One of the best ways to protect yourself from drowsy driving is to identify the signs that you are too tired to drive. These include but are not limited to:
- Excessive yawning
- Eyelids drooping
- Head starts to nod
- It is difficult to focus on the road, or the road becomes blurry
- You are unable to engage in a conversation with other passengers
- You can’t remember signs that you’ve passed recently
If you find yourself displaying any of these behaviors, pull off to the side of the road to rest or switch drivers. Always err on the side of caution. Even if you have a remote feeling that you are too tired to drive, look for an exit and take your car off the road. Fatigue can settle in quickly and it is best to acknowledge when you start to feel tired instead of pushing through and continuing to drive.
What to Do if You Have been Injured by a Fatigued Driver
If you have been in an accident and suspect that the other driver was too tired to safely operate their vehicle, you have options. An experienced car accident attorney can help explain the process of filing a claim against a negligent driver. To start, here are suggestions on steps to take after the accident:
- Seek medical attention—If you are unable to drive to the hospital, call an ambulance to pick you up. Even if you think that your injuries are minor, it is important to see a doctor soon after the accident so that they can perform a thorough medical evaluation. Many times, symptoms of injuries are delayed. This is especially common in the event of an accident when your adrenaline might be masking the signs of other complications. A doctor can assess your injuries and provide suggestions for follow up treatment. When you are working to claim compensation from the negligent party, medical records will be one of the first documents you will need to show in order to prove the extent of your injuries. Without seeking medical attention, the insurance company might assume that you were not actually injured in the accident and could potentially deny your claim.
- Call the police—this is an important step to take. The police will be able to document details about the scene of the accident, they can question the drivers involved and will oftentimes determine who is likely at fault. They will also create an official police report, which can be a helpful document to reference as your claim progresses.
- Avoid offering a statement to any insurance company, even your own. Although insurance companies will often try to encourage an accident victim to provide a statement describing what happened, you are not required to engage in this conversation. Any statement that you do give can be used against you during the process of the claim with the intention of reducing the monetary value of your settlement. Therefore, it is always best to speak with your lawyer before you talk to anyone at the insurance company.
- Hire an experienced car accident lawyer who you trust to advocate for your best interests—working with an attorney can help to reduce the burden of stress after an accident. Your personal injury lawyer can use their knowledge and skill to negotiate with the insurance companies so that you do not have to.
- Follow your doctor’s advice—Again, the insurance companies will look for different ways to show that the injuries you sustained in the accident are not as serious as you claim. For this reason, it is important to follow the advice of your doctor and make sure to attend follow up appointments and physical therapy sessions as needed. If you think your doctor is giving you the wrong medical advice, seek a second opinion before stopping your current treatment.
Call an Experienced Savannah, GA Personal Injury Lawyer Today
A car accident can be a devastating experience, and when you’re hit by a fatigued driver, the aftermath can be even more difficult. People who misjudge their ability to drive and operate a vehicle when they are too tired pose a great risk to everyone else on the road. When you are injured by such a driver, it can be a challenge to know what steps to take. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Hasner Law are proud to help people throughout the Savannah area. We offer a free consultation to all prospective clients so that we can discuss and review the details of your specific case. If you have been injured in an accident and believe a fatigued driver was at fault, call our office today at 912-234-2334. You can also contact us online.