If you have ever started to nod off behind the wheel, you know the feeling of terror when you jerk back awake. If you have had that experience, you are lucky to have woken up in time. A San Antonio woman was not so lucky last week, when she fell asleep behind the wheel while crossing the route 1604 overpass. Her bad luck did not stop there, she happened to nod off and lose control of her vehicle right when she was passing a gap between guards for the elevated highway overpass. Her car traveled through the gap and fell onto Stone Oak Parkway below. The impact threw the car up to the top of a highway wall below the overpass, and then slid back down onto Stone Oak Parkway. The woman driving the car told police the last thing she remembered before the impact was falling asleep. She was transported to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries.
Dangers of Driving Drowsy
Driving fatigued is a common problem that far too often feels unavoidable. However, it is critical that when you get behind the wheel, you make sure that you are alert and present enough to drive safely. Fatigued driving can be caused by a lack of sleep, a demanding schedule, prescription medications, drug and alcohol use, or sleep disorders, to name a few. In many cases, people are just exhausted and stretched too thin. The pandemic has not helped matters in that regard. With many people now working full-time while also trying to homeschool their children, there is little escape and few opportunities to recharge.
It is important to understand that the dangers of driving while fatigued go far beyond nodding off behind the wheel. Even if you manage to stay awake, you are still putting all other drivers on the road at risk. Driving fatigued decreases your reaction time, making it hard to break suddenly or adapt if needed. It also affects your ability to make logical choices, increases distractedness, and creates difficulty in remaining focused on the road.
Fatigued Driving is an Epidemic
Driver fatigue is a huge issue in the United States. Data from the CDC reflects that one in 25 adults over the age of 18 have fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in the last month. That means that almost every time you drive, you are likely to be sharing the road with a fatigued driver. A study by the National Highway Safety Administration reflects that a shocking 72,000 crashes a year are caused by driver fatigue (a statistic that continues to increase). Of these crashes, 44,000 result in injuries, and approximately 800 prove fatal.
It is important to look out for warning signs that you may be fatigued. If you are blinking and yawning a lot, keep swerving or hitting the rumble-strip of the highway, if you have missed an exit, or cannot seem to remember the last mile or two that you drove, it is a good idea to pull over.
Talk to an Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a fatigued driver, the Law Office of Eric Ramos can help get you the compensation that you deserve. Call today and schedule your free consultation. There is no fee until we win.