Truck drivers are responsible for hauling commercial vehicles that are substantially larger than the average passenger car. Anyone who has had a truck swerve or speed past them on the road, understands just how intimidating a truck presence can be. The average commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, versus the passenger vehicle which weighs on average of 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. A common risky habit of many truck drivers is operating such a heavy vehicle while sleep-deprived. Here in this article, we have provided more information on how sleepy truck drivers can be incredibly dangerous to others on the road. In the event you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer, like an experienced truck accident lawyer in Woodland Hills, in order to assist to you with your case.
How does being sleep-deprived impair a truck driver?
Driving while drowsy may not seem as serious as other poor driving behaviors, such as texting or driving drunk. However, sleepy driving should not be underestimated. Truck drivers may skip breaks or necessary sleeping hours in order to make deadlines. Driving such a hefty vehicle while drowsy can be deadly. Falling asleep behind the wheel can easily lead to a catastrophic accident. But, even if the truck driver does not actually fall asleep, being sleepy can still cause impairments. Truck drivers who are exhausted may experience the following effects:
- Difficulty focusing on the road
- Slower reaction time to potential dangers
- Inability to make sound driving decisions
What can a truck driver do to prevent becoming sleepy?
There are two factors that can contribute to a driver becoming sleepy. The first, is drowsiness can happen when the driver has not had sufficient sleep or breaks for rest. The second, is the driver is bored while behind the wheel and may start to nod off due to a lack of mental stimulation. A truck driver can lessen their chances of being sleepy behind the wheel by practicing the following positive habits:
- Sleeping during normal sleeping hours
- Taking breaks to enjoy a full meal
- Pulling over to stretch or go for a brief walk
- Calling friends or loved ones using a hands-free device
- Listening to music or podcasts to keep the mind stimulated
- Rolling down the window to bring in cool air (warmth can increase tiredness)
- Eating healthy, smaller meals to prevent feeling groggy or sluggish
- Bringing a canine or human companion on the road as company
What should a car driver do if they are hit by a truck driver?
If you find yourself having been struck by a truck while driving your car, you should take the standard steps necessary, just as if you were involved in an accident with another passenger car. Get the driver’s name, insurance company, insurance policy number, address, phone number, email and truck license plate number. Check yourself for injuries and get medical attention if needed. Always call law enforcement so they can take a written report of the incident.
Can I sue the truck driver at-fault for my injuries?
You can file a civil lawsuit against the driver who hit you to seek injury compensation. Many victims choose to consult with an attorney regarding their rights and the legal process. If you think the truck driver may have been sleepy or fallen asleep at the wheel, do share these details with your attorney.
Thank you to Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation, for providing insight and authoring this piece on truck accidents.