If you commute between New Hampshire and Vermont, it is likely you are sharing the road with semi-trucks. You may be a safe driver, but the same cannot be said of all truckers, especially truckers who choose to drive drowsy. Read on to learn more about how truck driver fatigue can lead to a drowsy driving accident.
Our natural sleep patterns
Our natural sleep patterns cause us to feel drowsy from midnight to 6:00 a.m. and again in the afternoon from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is referred to as our circadian rhythm.
Truckers should avoid driving during these times when our bodies are naturally drowsy. Unfortunately, truckers are often incentivized to make quick shipments leading some to ignore their circadian rhythm and drive overnight even if they are tired. This decision can make them prone to causing a drowsy driving accident.
Watch out for medication side effects
When we have a cold, the flu or have a chronic health condition, it is likely that we will take medication for our illness. Truckers are no different and will take medications they need to stay healthy enough to perform their job duties.
However, as you likely already know, many prescription medications and over-the-counter medications list drowsiness as a side effect and warn you not to drive or operate heavy machinery while taking the medication. Some truckers ignore these warnings and will drive after taking a medication that makes them sleepy, leading to a drowsy driving accident.
Do truckers really know the key to staying awake?
Truckers often get over-confident when they think they know the key to staying awake during long hours on the road. They may drink coffee or an energy drink, play loud music or roll the window down for fresh air, all in an effort to stay awake while driving.
However, these types of tactics do not truly prevent or fix drowsiness. The only key to preventing or fixing drowsiness is to get enough sleep before driving and stopping driving when you feel drowsy. An over-confident trucker who is ignoring their fatigue or trying to “fix” their sleepiness can cause a drowsy driving accident.
Drowsy driving poses a serious safety risk
A drowsy truck driver is a dangerous truck driver. According to one study, 13% of truck accidents involved a fatigued trucker. Truckers who cause drowsy driving accidents can be held liable for the damages they cause. If you are injured in a truck accident, you will want to make sure you understand your legal options especially if drowsiness was a factor in the crash.