Understanding the dangers of drowsy driving in Kentucky

For any number of reasons, drivers may be drowsy while they are behind the wheel, which may cause impairments that increase their risk of crashing.

Most Kentucky drivers realize the danger of getting behind the wheel if they are too tired to keep their eyes open. However, many do not realize that it is dangerous to drive even if they are just drowsy. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that drowsiness is involved in 328,000 motor vehicle accidents each year. Often, such collisions result in serious injuries or death for the drowsy drivers, as well as for other motorists, passengers and pedestrians.

What causes drowsy driving?

There is any number of factors that may cause people to become fatigued or overly tired. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this may include not getting adequate sleep, consuming alcohol or taking certain medications. Additionally, sleep disorders may also cause people to be drowsy while they are driving.

Who is at risk of driving while drowsy?

Generally, anyone who gets less than six hours of sleep each night may be at risk of being a drowsy driver. However, the danger may be greater for certain groups than it is for others. The NHTSA points out that young men are more likely to drive while they are fatigued or overly tired than young women and older motorists. Those who suffer from untreated sleep disorders may also have an increased risk of drowsy driving. Drowsiness while behind the wheel is also common among shift workers, or people who work long or irregular hours.

Why is drowsy driving hazardous?

Even if people do not fall asleep while they are driving, drowsiness may affect their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is because being fatigued or overly tired may cause significant impairments. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsiness may impact people's judgment, cause them to be less attentive or delay their reaction times. Consequently, these negligent drivers may drift off the road or into other traffic lanes, be unable to adjust to situation in time to avoid crashing or make unsafe driving decisions.

Pursuing financial justice

When people in Kentucky are involved in drowsy driving accidents, they may be seriously injured. In cases when they need medical treatment and time off of work to recover as a result, they may incur unexpected medical expenses and lose income. Depending on the situation, however, the drowsy drivers responsible for causing such collisions may be liable for the resulting damages. Therefore, it may be helpful for people who have experienced such situations to discuss their cases with a legal representative. An attorney may help them understand their rights and explain their options for seeking financial compensation.