A driver who falls asleep at the wheel, or even one who just drives under extreme fatigue, is really no better -- from a risk standpoint -- than a drunk driver. That person's reaction times tend to get worse, they make more mistakes and they could pass out and send the car careening into oncoming traffic. These are the same issues that make drunk driving so dangerous.
Even so, many people do drive when they're tired. Some of those who are most likely to do this include:
- Those who are on medicines that create fatigue
- Those who try to function on too little sleep
- Those who work extra-long shifts, like hospital workers or those who work night shifts
- Those who drive for a living, such as bus drivers, taxi drivers, rideshare drivers and truck drivers
- Those who have sleep disorders, especially if they have never gotten treatment
The issue is that these drivers often feel obligated to drive. Imagine that your boss asks you to stay late at the office to finish up a project. You didn't get enough sleep the night before, and the long hours make you weary. When you finally get that project done, though, are you really going to call a cab? You would if you were drunk, because you know that's dangerous, but you're probably not going to call for a ride just because you feel exhausted. It seems like a waste of money, and you'll just try to get home on your own instead.
As long as drivers take these risks, those who get injured in accidents they cause need to know how to seek compensation.