Last year, the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimated there to be 97.4 million road trips across the United States between December 23 and January 1. Though the sheer increase in drivers could cause a spike in traffic accidents, there could also be an increase in drowsy driving accidents due to a few reasons.
Avoiding traffic congestion. Many holiday travelers try to avoid traffic congestion by driving early in the morning or late at night. According to AAA, last year, the worst time to be on the road for traffic congestion was late afternoon to early evening. However, when people drive during hours when their bodies are usually asleep, there could be an increased chance for drowsy driving. Sometimes, people cannot control when they fall asleep. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that many drowsy driving accidents occur between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Traveling after work. Christmas Eve falls on a Monday this year, and many travelers will have to work. In order to be present for Christmas Day plans, people will drive after work on Monday. Not only is late afternoon a time when our bodies are wired to sleep, but depending on distance of the trip, people could be running on fumes by the time they are almost done travelling. When people are drowsy, it could cause poor reaction time, judgment and alertness. According to the National Sleep Foundation, drowsiness can affect the body in ways that are similar to alcohol intoxication.
Lack of sleep. It is difficult to get enough sleep around the holidays. In addition to normal work schedules, people stay up late to organize holiday gatherings, wrap gifts, get started on cooking and go to holiday parties. In addition, with extra duties around the holidays, stress can build, which can make sleeping difficult. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between the ages of 26 and 64 get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Some adults need as much as 10 hours of sleep to function.
Keep in mind that holiday driving also means an increase in highway driving. AAA estimates that the average person travels at least 50 miles during holiday travel. According to NHTSA, drowsy driving crashes frequently occur on highways. There will also be a higher risk of coming into contact with a commercial truck driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel.
Do You Need a Lafayette Car Accident Attorney?
If you have been injured in a car accident in Lafayette caused by a drowsy driver, then you could have a viable claim to recover compensation for your injuries. A car accident attorney could help you gather evidence and determine who was fault.
At Galloway Jefcoat, LLP Attorneys at Law, we have nearly 20 years of experience representing victims of accidents in Louisiana personal injury cases. Call our Lafayette office at (337) 984-8020 or our Lake Charles office at (337) 888-4357 for a free consultation. You can also fill out our free case evaluation form to discuss your situation.