During a week that has been designated as “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week,” a woman in her early 20s suffered injuries in an Orange County car accident after she fell asleep at the wheel.
According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the woman was driving southbound in the right lane of the 261 toll road in Orange on November 1, 2015 when she fell asleep and drifted off the road near Handy Creek Road.
Officials said her black Toyota Camry went up a nearby embankment and overturned before coming to
a rest about 150 feet from the highway near Handy Creek Road.
Passersby called emergency personnel. The woman was transported to an area hospital, but is expected to survive her injuries. Officials said she is lucky that the injuries were not more serious.
The Danger of Fatigued Driving
Studies unanimously show that fatigued driving is as dangerous as operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 100,000 car accidents reported to police nationally in which drowsy driving or driver fatigue is cited as a contributing factor.
NHTSA estimates that these types of crashes result in 1,550 fatalities, 71,000 injuries and about $12.5 billion in losses each year in the United States. Why is fatigued driving dangerous? This is because sleepiness or drowsiness can slow a driver’s reaction time, increasing the risk of a crash.
It can also impair vision and judgment and delay the processing of information.
Tips to Prevent Fatigued Driving
There are several steps drivers can take in order to prevent fatigued or drowsy driving:
• Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road.
• Don’t be rushed to arrive at your destination. If you are taking a longer trip, take a break every two hours or 100 mph.
• Use a buddy system to keep you awake and share the driving.
• Avoid alcohol, drugs and medications that can cause drowsiness as a side effect.
• Avoid driving during hours when you would be sleeping.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, caused by a drowsy driver, please understand that you have rights. Remember, drowsy driving does amount to negligence.
Injured victims in such cases may be entitled to damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options.