Truck accidents happen for a variety of reasons. Some of them may not be directly under a truck driver's control, such as weather, unexpected mechanical issues or other drivers on the road. However, many factors leading to these crashes are within the control of the driver.
For instance, failing to get adequate rest could lead to a serious or deadly accident. Even if a driver remains within his or her hours of service, that doesn't preclude the possibility that the driver was too tired to safely operate a big rig.
Let's take a look at sleep
Your body needs sleep. There's no way around it. If you fail to sleep over a long enough period, your brain takes over and forces you to sleep. Your body attempts to warn you by making you drowsy due to the following factors:
- Most adults require around seven to eight hours of sleep within a 24-hour period. If you fail to get the necessary sleep, you build up a sleep debt. The longer you fail to get adequate sleep, the higher your sleep debt. You may not even realize when your reaction times slow and your alertness drops. Some equate drowsiness with drunkenness for this reason.
- The internal clock in your body tells it when to wake and tells you when to sleep. Most people get drowsy in the evening and in the middle of the day. Ignoring your body clock could have serious repercussions if you drive.
The problem is that most adults, including truck drivers, don't get enough sleep and are always somewhat drowsy. This presents a serious danger for all drivers, especially those who drive for a living.
Let's talk about what drowsy driving crashes share
Researchers found the following commonalities among crashes involving drowsy drivers:
- In 82 percent of known drowsy driving accidents, the driver was the only occupant of the vehicle.
- The majority of drowsy driving crashes occur either from midnight through 8 a.m. or from 1 p.m. through 3 p.m. These times coincide with the body's internal clock, indicating the time to sleep.
- In many of these accidents, the drowsy driver didn't even attempt to avoid the crash by applying the brakes or swerving.
The fact is that you probably share the road with numerous drowsy drivers, including truck drivers, every time you get out on the road. All you can do is remain vigilant and prepare to act quickly if necessary.
Let's talk about what happens if a drowsy driver causes you harm
If you weren't able to avoid an accident involving a drowsy truck driver and suffered serious injuries as a result, you could find yourself sustaining significant financial losses. You could incur medical bills and lose time from work. Your financial situation could deteriorate quickly. For this reason, you may want to exercise your right to pursue compensation for those losses through the filing of a personal injury claim.