Tennessee residents may drive even when they are drowsy, but this behavior is dangerous. Every year across the U.S., drowsy driving leads to an estimated 328,000 car crashes, 109,000 of which involve injuries and 6,400 of which end in fatality. This is according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Fatigue makes a driver three times more likely to crash. Being awake for 20 consecutive hours makes a driver act like someone who is legally drunk. Drowsiness impairs drivers’ attention, judgment and reaction times and can even lead to hazardous four- or five-second bursts of microsleep.
Many drivers need to be reminded that they should not keep pushing on when they are drowsy. Because of this, the National Sleep Foundation set up an annual event called Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. For 2020, this will be held from Nov. 1 to 8. Others can do their part too: Parents should set up a drowsy driving rule with their teens, and employers can create a program about off-the-job safety.
The only real solution to drowsy driving is, of course, adequate sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. Drivers should also be careful about the medications they take as some do not clearly state the side effects.
Drowsy drivers who cause car crashes can be held responsible, or their auto insurance company can be. Tennessee operates under a rule of comparative negligence, so even those who are partially to blame still have a chance at recovering damages. Even if they are entirely innocent, victims are likely to meet some opposition from the insurance company, so they may want a lawyer to represent them at the negotiation table. In the end, they might be able to achieve a fair settlement covering medical bills and more.