Fatigue is not only an issue associated with athletes; individuals with everyday jobs can experience fatigue as well, and it can have devastating effects on their work performance. In more serious cases, fatigue can be life threatening. This is particularly true for truck drivers.
By the very nature of their work, truck drivers are required to be up for extended periods of time conducting a repetitive task: driving. Driving for long periods of time without rest can cause fatigue, and fatigue can be a major factor in auto accidents.
Effects of Fatigue
Driving while fatigued has numerous negative effects. Becoming knowledgeable of these effects may help deter an individual from getting behind the wheel despite being fatigued. Driving while fatigued can have the following effects:
- Impaired reaction time. When fatigued, your ability to react to any obstacle on the road or another vehicle coming to a sudden stop is greatly impaired. Moreover, drivers tend to doze off when fatigued behind the wheel. All it takes is one second with your eyes off the road to cause an accident.
- Impaired decision-making. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains that staying awake for 18 hours and attempting to drive is the equivalent to getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level of .05. Staying awake for 24 hours is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol level of .10, which is above the legal limit. The dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol are no secret, and those same dangers exist when driving fatigued. You lose the ability to make sound, smart decisions when behind the wheel, and those impaired decisions can put your life and the lives of surrounding drivers in jeopardy.
What makes accidents that involve fatigued drivers so tragic is that they can easily be avoided if the drivers act in a more responsible manner. Here are simple ways to avoid fatigued driving:
- Take breaks. Federal law requires that truck drivers take breaks when on the road and also put a limit on the amount of hours a driver may be behind the wheel in a given week. Despite the federal mandates requiring breaks, drivers should take breaks to break the monotony of being behind the wheel for extended periods of time and to “reboot.” Doing so can keep you refreshed and help avoid fatigue.
- Pull over. If you ever feel that you are nodding off at the wheel or that you may be too tired to pay appropriate attention to the road, pull over. Continuing to drive is an unnecessary danger and puts everyone on the road at risk.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a fatigued driver, you have rights. Contact Harris Lowry Manton LLP today for a free consultation with one of our expert truck accident attorneys. Call 912.417.3774 in Savannah, or complete this contact form to schedule your consultation with a skilled attorney.