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Drowsy Driving Car Accidents in Houston

Today’s world is a busy place, with many people out of their homes from early morning until late evening, working and taking care of household business and children’s extra-curricular activities. Sadly, one side effect of our hectic lives is an increase in drowsy driving car accidents in Houston and throughout Texas.

Overall, Texas is ranked as the second-highest state for accidents caused by fatigued drivers. Drowsy driving accidents pose a significant risk for fatalities in Houston particularly due to their tendency to result in head-on collisions. When drivers nod off behind the wheel they may drift out of their lane into oncoming traffic, increasing the danger on the roads. Notably, commercial truck drivers who spend long hours on the road are particularly susceptible to drowsy driving accidents in Texas, a state that ranks number one in the country for truck accidents.

If you or your loved one was injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver in Houston, you may be wondering about your options for recovering compensation for damages like property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A car accident attorney in Houston with experience in fatigued driving accidents can provide legal counsel and representation.

How Common Are Drowsy Driving Accidents in Houston?

Available data on drowsy driving accidents in Houston and elsewhere may greatly underestimate the actual numbers. In many cases, it’s impossible to prove that a driver was fatigued or nodded off behind the wheel before the accident. An AAA study revealed that 684 known fatalities from drowsy driving accidents occurred in 2021 according to police reports, but data suggests the real total may be as high as 6,000 per year. The study estimates $109 billion spent annually on medical care for injury victims from drowsy driving accidents, not including the cost of property damage to vehicles. The CDC reports that one in 25 drivers surveyed admit to dozing off behind the wheel.

How Does Fatigue Impact Driving?

Drowsy driving accidents do not always involve actually falling asleep behind the wheel. Studies show that driving while overly fatigued:

  • Reduces reaction times
  • Causes changes in visual perception
  • Contributes to driver inattention, or daydreaming
  • Causes poor motor coordination
  • Negatively impacts cognitive function and decision-making

Drivers who are awake for 18 hours display poor driving ability similar to that of a person just under the legal limit for alcohol, while 24-hour wakefulness impacts driving ability to an extent similar to an intoxicated driver who’d measure .10 on a breathalyzer test—above the legal limit for drunk driving.

Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

Unfortunately, you may not be able to spot a drowsy driver in traffic, unless you notice them visibly drifting out of their lane or drifting and over-correcting. However, you can watch for warning signs to prevent yourself from engaging in drowsy driving. Signs that you may be too tired to drive safely include the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent yawning
  • Difficulty keeping your head up or “nodding off”
  • “Autopilot” driving or inability to remember driving the last few miles
  • Excessive daydreaming or twilight sleep-type thoughts
  • Missing road signs or turns
  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Difficulty maintaining a steady speed

Any of these warning signs mean you should take a break from the road and get some sleep.

Negligence in Drowsy Driving Accidents in Houston

Drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road to take reasonable measures to prevent causing injuries. Removing themselves from the road when too tired to drive is an action a reasonable driver takes. If a drowsy driver in Houston causes an accident, they can be held liable for the damages they cause to others due to driver negligence.

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