One of the most critical aspects of safe driving is being alert and engaged with your surroundings, but that’s hard to do if you can barely keep your eyes open. It’s no wonder that drowsy driving accidents are among the most dangerous types of accidents that happen in Golden. A tired driver can easily drift into the path of another vehicle, causing a devastating h

The Golden drowsy driving accident attorneys at the Olson Law Firm, LLC want to help if you’ve been injured in a crash that was someone else’s fault. Lead attorney Sean Olson founded the Olson Law Firm, LLC in 2012 to defend the rights of accident victims. We’ve helped hundreds of clients in the years since then.

Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.

What Is Drowsy Driving?

Drowsy driving is when someone is so tired that their ability to handle a vehicle safely becomes compromised. Severely fatigued drivers may experience many of the same effects as drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol, such as:

  • Slowed reflexes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel

When Do Most Drowsy Driving Accidents Occur?

According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most drowsy accidents occur in the late afternoon or between midnight and 6 a.m.

During both of these periods, most people experience a dip in energy due to natural fluctuations in their circadian rhythm. Late afternoon is also when many people get off work and might be fatigued during their commute home. Similarly, late-shift workers often finish work between midnight and 6 a.m., and they may be exhausted as they head home.

How to Prevent Drowsy Driving

NHTSA has the following tips on preventing drowsy driving accidents:

  • Make sure you get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel, especially if you’re about to embark on a long drive.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before driving, as alcohol can make you feel fatigued even if you’re below the legal limit.
  • Check prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs to see if drowsiness is a potential side effect.
  • If you have to drive during peak sleepiness periods, such as late afternoon or from midnight to six a.m., be watchful for signs of drowsiness.
  • Short-term fixes like coffee or other caffeinated beverages can sometimes help alleviate fatigue in the short term, but getting a good night’s sleep is the only true “cure” for drowsiness.

Drowsy Driving Statistics in Golden

The Colorado Department of Transportation reports that driver fatigue accounted for 7 percent of all crashes that involved an injury or fatality in one recent year. Meanwhile, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that drowsy driving is a factor in about 9 percent of all traffic accidents. NHTSA says 697 people died in drowsy-driving-related accidents in a single year.

Common Injuries Caused by Drowsy Driving Accidents

Drowsy driving accidents frequently cause severe injuries, in part because a driver who falls asleep behind may fail to take evasive actions like braking or swerving before impact. Some of the most common injuries caused by drowsy driving accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuriesTraumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are usually caused by a hard blow or jolt to the head or from an object penetrating the skull. Whatever the cause, TBIs are severe because they can cause profound and permanent damage. A TBI can lead to loss of motor function or other bodily functions, memory issues, personality changes, impaired cognition, and other effects.
  • Neck injuries, such as whiplash – Neck injuries can cause severe pain and discomfort. One of the most common neck injuries is whiplash, which results from someone’s neck and head being jerked forward after a crash before being snapped back in a whip-like manner.
  • Spinal cord injuries – Drowsy driving accidents can damage the spinal cord, leading to weakness or numbness in the limbs, loss of certain bodily functions, and paralysis in severe cases.
  • Soft tissue injuries – Damage to the body’s soft tissues – muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc. – is common in drowsy driving accidents. These injuries often require surgery or extensive physical therapy to heal.
  • Amputation – In particularly severe accidents, a driver or passenger’s limbs can become entangled in twisted metal, crushed, or otherwise damaged to the point where it is removed, either due to trauma or surgery after the accident.
  • Broken bones – Broken bones are among the most common injuries that happen in car crashes, especially bones in the feet, legs, hands, arms, hips, and ribs.
  • Internal injuries – The force of impact in a drowsy driving crash can damage internal organs and cause internal bleeding.
  • Crush injuries – An accident can crush limbs, especially in a rollover crash or other severe collision.
  • Paralysis – Paralysis can result from damage to the spinal cord or neck injuries resulting from a drowsy driving accident.
  • Facial injuries, scarring, and disfigurement – Broken glass and other sharp objects in a drowsy driving crash can cause deep gashes in the face and other disfiguring injuries.
  • Cuts and lacerations – Jagged metal edges, broken glass, and other sharp objects can cause severe cuts and lacerations, which could be fatal if the victim loses too much blood.
  • Burns – Burn injuries are common crashes where accident victims contact hot metal or steam or if the vehicle ignites because of the collision.

Compensation for Victims of Fatigued Driver Crashes

With help from a Golden drowsy accident lawyer, you could potentially recover compensation for:

  • Lost wages
  • Reduced future earning capacity
  • Medical bills and rehabilitation expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Damaged property

Proving Liability with a Golden Fatigued Driver Accident Lawyer

Proving a driver was overly tired when an accident occurred can be difficult, but a drowsy driving accident lawyer in Golden can help you find the evidence that could be helpful, such as:

  • Information from police accident reports
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Blood tests, which may show if the driver was impaired by alcohol or had recently taken any prescription, over-the-counter, or illicit drugs that cause drowsiness
  • Forensic accident investigations
  • Surveillance video footage
  • Photos from the crash scene

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Golden for Help

If a drowsy driver caused a crash that hurt you, the Golden car accident lawyers at the Olson Law Firm, LLC have the knowledge and experience to help you seek fair compensation for your losses. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.