The Truth About Drowsy Driver in America

According to the US Department of Health, you aren’t alone! The department estimates that 64 million Americans suffer from insomnia! Sleep deprivation can dramatically impact your ability to drive. In the United States, it is estimated that at least 40% of Americans are regularly sleep-deprived. There are many reasons for this, including strenuous work schedules, poor sleep habits, and stress.

Regardless of the reason for lack of sleep, driving without adequate sleep is dangerous. Whether you are a truck driver, night shift worker, healthcare professional, or new parent, sleep-deprived driving is something that everyone should understand and avoid.

Moreover, there are certain laws in place that have an impact on driving when tired. Before you get behind the wheel, read on to see if you legally need to take a nap!

Is driving tired actually dangerous?

Yes, getting behind the wheel without adequate sleep is not a smart move. In fact, driving tired is believed to be more dangerous than leading experts previously thought. Previously, researchers were under the impression that sleep-deprived drivers cause only 2% of automobile accidents in the United States. Today, it is now understood that up to 10% of all car accidents likely involve sleep-deprived drivers.

Driving while tired can cause automobile accidents in many ways. Drowsiness can lead to slow reflexes, blurred vision, and poor decision-making behind the wheel. When any of these factors combine with heavy traffic or the need to make a split-second decision, an auto accident may shortly follow. Drowsy driving combined with inclement weather can also be disastrous. If your vision is blurred due to lack of sleep, it can be difficult to spot black ice or standing water. These hazards should not be taken on by those who feel less than alert.

Is sleep-deprived driving an issue in Colorado?

In Colorado, driving without adequate sleep is a serious problem. In fact, 1 in 25 drivers admits to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point in their lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes more than 70,000 motor vehicle crashes every year to sleep-deprived drivers who got drowsy at the wheel. Many of these crashes result in serious injuries and sometimes death.

If you live in Colorado, be sure to get plenty of sleep and navigate the roadways with care. With so many beautiful sights to see, many tourists travel through Colorado every year. These visitors may be unfamiliar with road conditions and traffic patterns. Additionally, Colorado has various roads in the Rocky Mountains that must be navigated with care. The I-25 is often congested with travelers and those commuting to and from work. In the winter, Colorado is known for its slick and icy road conditions. All of these factors are exacerbated by sleep deprivation.

Is it illegal to drive while tired in Colorado?

Yes, it is illegal to drive while sleep-deprived in Colorado. In fact, it’s illegal to drive while sleep deprived in every state in the United States of America. The law is clear about driving recklessly. All jurisdictions have laws that prohibit reckless driving. Recklessness is defined as any behavior that shows a willing disregard for the safety of other people. So, if you get behind the wheel when you know you’re drowsy, you are conducting reckless behavior. Drivers who admit to causing an accident due to sleep deprivation can be charged with reckless driving. If you need rest, pull over and take a nap.

How to tell if you are too tired to drive?

It can be hard to determine whether you are too tired to get behind the wheel. After all, many people continue through their day-to-day activities feeling drowsy and exhausted. However, there are some signs to watch for that indicate you are too tired to operate a motor vehicle.

If you are having a hard time keeping your eyes open, this is a sign that you need to pull over and rest. There are rest areas located across Colorado for this specific reason. It is fully legal to pull over at any rest area and take a nap in your car. If you find yourself yawning frequently or having trouble focusing on the road, it may be time to take a break!

Signs of exhaustion on the road include:

  • Yawning
  • Eyes feeling heavy
  • Dry eyes
  • Forgetting a turn
  • Irritability
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion

What to do if you feel drowsy at the wheel?

If you have been driving for a long time, getting drowsy is understandable. Sometimes, you have no choice but to drive from point A to point B. However, if you are so tired that you feel drowsy at the wheel, you need to pull over. You’ll never get there in time if you get into an automobile accident!

If you feel like you are becoming drowsy, take the next exit and pull over. Get out and stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and take a break. During this time, look for the nearest rest station, motel, hotel, or public place to park. There are many rest areas available to the public in Colorado. Do not get back out on the road until you feel refreshed and awake.

injury law parkerIs it illegal to sleep in your car?

No, taking a nap in your car is not illegal. However, where you pull over and park does matter. Flying J, Loves, and other truck stops usually permit people to take naps in their vehicles in the parking lot. Although not all gas stations will allow you to loiter in the parking lot, truck stops often offer a place for people to rest. Businesses that are open for 24 hours also sometimes allow people to openly use the parking lot.

There are many semi-truck stopping areas where vehicles are permitted to stop and rest as well. If you need a 20-minute power nap to keep from falling asleep at the wheel, even a McDonald’s parking lot will do.

Where can you legally pull over and sleep on a road trip?

If you are on a long road trip and start getting drowsy, one of the best things to do is pull over and get a hotel. A full night of sleep is the best choice for navigating the complexities of interstate and highway traffic.

Consider the following:

  • Before you embark on a road trip, be sure to schedule driving intervals of no more than two and a half hours each. Every two and a half hours, take a break and stretch your legs. Book a hotel or motel before you leave and plan to stop when it gets dark. If possible, have an alternate driver with you so that you can switch when someone gets tired.
  • Avoid pulling over and sleeping on the side of the road. Whether there is heavy traffic or not, this can be dangerous. You may receive a ticket if you are in a no-parking area. Instead, look for a business that is open for 24 hours with a well-lit parking lot. Better yet, have a hotel booked and get there before dark.
  • Most police officers will not cite you with a ticket for sleeping in a parking lot if you are too tired to drive. Just be sure to pull over and stop legally. Usually, this involves taking an exit. Sometimes, it is illegal to pull over on the shoulder of the road for anything less than an emergency. Use common sense.
  • Colorado has also recently instituted the Safe Parking Initiative. The Colorado Safe Parking Initiative allows those in the Denver metro area to find safe places to park. Although this program was designed for people who are homeless or living in their vehicles, these safe parking areas could reasonably be used legally by tired travelers as well.

Is it possible to get a DUI for falling asleep at the wheel in Colorado?

If you fall asleep at the wheel because you have consumed alcohol or other controlled substances, you can get a DUI. If you simply fall asleep because you are tired, you are likely to be cited with a ticket for reckless driving.

What to do if you are in an accident with someone who’s sleep-deprived?

Proving that the person involved in an auto accident is sleep-deprived will depend on the evidence. You will need to prove that the other driver was sleep-deprived while operating a motor vehicle.

Perhaps the at-fault driver made a statement to a police officer about falling asleep at the wheel. You would need to get access to this police report to prove your claims. Our attorneys can help you if you have been injured by the negligent driving of someone else. Call today to find out what your case is worth!

Have you been in a car accident with a drowsy driver? Contact us today!

If you have been hurt because of the negligent actions of a sleep-deprived driver, contact our personal injury firm now. We can help you find out if you are entitled to compensation! Our attorneys are skilled at assisting clients through the claims process from start to finish. Just focus on the legalities while you take care of what matters, healing! Contact Matlin Injury Law today for a case consultation.

Matlin Injury Law Represents the Victims of Sleep Deprived Driving Accidents in Colorado! Call or Text us Today at (720) 464-3600