Fatigued driving is a serious concern on the road, often likened to driving under the influence of alcohol because of its ability to impair judgment and reaction times. As such, understanding the common causes of driver fatigue is crucial for drivers.
Fatigued driving doesn’t just put a driver at risk. It endangers passengers, other road users and pedestrians. One of the most important things to know about drowsy driving is that it’s a preventable issue. When motorists understand how to combat this behavior, they can remain safer when traveling. The most common causes of drowsy driving are introduced below.
Lack of adequate sleep
The most obvious cause of fatigued driving is a lack of adequate sleep. Missing even a few hours of sleep can significantly impair a person’s ability to drive safely. This is especially true for individuals who regularly get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night.
Driving at night
Human bodies are naturally programmed to sleep at night, so driving during this time can be particularly hazardous. The darkness and reduced activity can make drivers more prone to drowsiness. Night driving requires extra vigilance to combat the natural inclination to sleep.
Medical conditions and medication
Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, can lead to chronic tiredness, increasing the risk of fatigued driving. Additionally, many medications, including some over-the-counter drugs, have side effects like drowsiness, which can impair driving ability.
Driving on familiar roads
Driving on familiar roads can lead to a form of complacency that results in driver fatigue. The monotony and predictability of a well-known route can reduce a driver’s alertness and reaction time, increasing the risk of an accident.
Swing shift work
Swing shift work, involving irregular or nighttime hours, disrupts the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. This irregularity can lead to chronic sleep deprivation and fatigue, making driving particularly dangerous for individuals working these shifts.
Fatigued driving is a multifaceted issue that isn’t easily addressed. There aren’t any quick fixes to drowsy driving, so drivers who are showing signs of fatigue need to get off the road and get some sleep. Anyone who’s struck by a fatigued driver may opt to pursue a claim for compensation to help recover the financial damages caused by that negligent party.