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Common Causes of Driver Fatigue and What You Can Do to Avoid a Car Crash


Driver fatigue may be a more common issue on US roads than many people think. Here’s what you can do to prevent these accidents.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes every year involve driver fatigue. 

Other reports place this number even higher, with a study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimating 328,000 crashes caused by driver fatigue each year.

st. louis man tired while driving

What Causes Driver Fatigue?

Driving while sleep deprived is generally responsible for driver fatigue. The reasons for not sleeping or resting can vary from having certain medical problems such as insomnia to dealing with a very stressful period, a hectic work schedule, or change your sleeping pattern suddenly.

The human brain requires sleep to recharge and remain sharp, but many times, it may try to compensate when it’s feeling tired but can’t go to sleep yet. In other words, you don’t always have to ‘feel sleepy’ or yawn a lot or have driver fatigue. The signs can also include:

  • Trouble remembering 
  • Delayed reactions and responses
  • Having ‘heavy eyes’
  • Difficulty staying concentrated on the road or even daydreaming
  • Not noticing the change in lights right away
  • Becoming very impatient, even irritated, etc.

How to Avoid Crashing Because of Driver Fatigue

There is only one cure to driver fatigue: sleep.

If your lack of sleep and rest is caused by a sleep disorder or other medical condition, you should avoid driving until you address this issue. 

In other cases, a bit of preparation can help you avoid drowsy driving:

  • If you have a long trip planned, make sure you get a good night’s sleep right before;
  • Look at the route and establish a few places where you can take breaks to rest;
  • Don’t drive more than 8 hours;
  • If you’re traveling with another driver, you can share the driving with them to give each other time to rest a bit;
  • Avoid drinking or consuming drugs before your trip;
  • Consider your internal clock when traveling. If you usually sleep during the night, driving during the night can be difficult, since your body is not used to being alert at that time;
  • If you feel tired, don’t overdo it if coffee or energy drinks, since they cannot help you stay awake if your body is exhausted;
  • Listen to your body and analyze your behavior. If you feel tired, even if you only need to make a short trip, it may be safer to opt for a cab or a ridesharing service instead of driving yourself.

Speak With a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been involved in a car accident with a drowsy driver, reach out to an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer for assistance. Compensation from the at-fault party can help you get through this situation, pay for your medical expenses, and more.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

Updated: April 22, 2021