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Are you a drowsy driver? You may be and not realize it

As many parents learn as they raise their children, when a child says that he or she isn't tired, it's probably naptime or bedtime. Children's protestations of not needing to sleep may echo in the minds of many of their parents as they struggle to get through the day because, for whatever reason, they suffer from a lack of sleep.

Many people these days suffer from a chronic lack of sleep, and you may be one of them. If you get behind the wheel of your car while tired, you put yourself and everyone else at risk. With all of the media attention going to drunk driving and texting while driving, this important impairment doesn't get the attention it deserves.

The warning signs that many people ignore

Without a doubt, the human body may just count as the most amazing piece of machinery ever made. Our bodies can do many things, and one of them involves warning you when you need sleep. Your body gives you the following signs that it requires sleep and you probably shouldn't drive:

  • Yawning
  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Trying to keep your eyes open and focused
  • Trying to keep your head up
  • Feeling irritable, restless or aggressive
  • Daydreaming
  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Failing to see signs or exits
  • Tailgating
  • Making bad choices
  • Reacting more slowly

You may be like other drivers who roll down a window or turn up the radio in an effort to stay awake. Experiencing these symptoms could mean that you need to find somewhere safe to rest -- even if just for a short nap. Any delay you experience in getting to your destination may keep you from being permanently delayed due to an accident.

These people drive most often when sleep-deprived

The following groups of people run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel more often than others:

  • Commercial drivers
  • Shift workers
  • People ages 16 to 25
  • Business travelers
  • People with undiagnosed sleep disorders

Many of those included in these groups suffer from chronic sleep deprivation and/or must stay awake for numerous hours at a time. You may not realize that going more than 20 hours without sleep causes your body to react the same way it would if your blood alcohol content reached .08. It's illegal to drive in that state for a reason.

Making a case for negligence against a drowsy driver

After suffering serious injuries or losing a loved one to a drowsy driver, you and your family probably incurred significant financial losses from medical costs, lost income and other damages. You may receive compensation through a civil action, but it may be a challenge to prove that the other driver shouldn't have been driving due to a lack of sleep.

You have the right to have a knowledgeable attorney at your side to advocate for you. He or she understands what evidence you need in order to help make your claim a successful one.

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