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A major car crash in San Antonio claimed the life of one man after a Dodge pickup collided with his Ford pickup on 1604 and Bitters Road, police say. The believed reason behind the crash? The driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The Dodge truck was driving east on the 1604 access road when it collided with a Ford truck heading South on the Bitters Road bridge. The Ford landed on its roof in a construction zone after rolling several times.

The driver of the Ford – identified as 25-year old Patrick Krueger who was traveling home from work was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Dodge was taken to University Hospital with serious injuries.

Several witnesses stated the driver of the Dodge was driving recklessly, weaving on and off the access road of 1604 between Northwest Military and Bitters Road.

A witness also reported to police that when they saw the driver earlier, he looked to be asleep at the light on Northwest Military.

When witnesses approached the driver of the Dodge after the crash to check if he was ok, he appeared incoherent and was unaware he had collided with another vehicle.

Drowsy Driving comes with devastating effects

Drowsy driving refers to an individual operating a motor vehicle while he or she is cognitively impaired due to lack of sleep, untreated sleep disorders, medications, and alcohol consumption.

Not all intersections are created equal, making some more dangerous than others. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Loop 1604 ranks fifth out of the top ten most dangerous intersections in San Antonio.

Driving drowsy makes potentially dangerous roads and intersections even riskier to travel on. Regardless of how dangerous roads can be, the burden of the collision falls on drivers.

If you choose to drive drowsy, heavy eyelids may make it harder for you to take that turn that already comes with poor visibility. Sleep deprivation may lead you to make the poor decision of passing a vehicle when it is unsafe to do so, which can ultimately end in tragedy.

A drowsy driver is too tired to remain alert causing slow reaction times, reduced vigilance and impaired thinking.  Driving while exhausted is often overlooked as risky behavior even though the consequences have proven to be dangerous and even fatal in some situations. Put a drowsy driver behind the wheel of a car and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Driving while drowsy is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, someone who has been awake for over 20 hours has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%- the U.S. limit.

Take a look at these eye-opening drowsy driving statistics:

  • The NHTSA reports 795 lives were lost due to drowsy driving in 2017.
  • There were 4,121 fatal crashes involving drowsy driving between 2011 and 2015.
  • There were 90,000 motor vehicle crashes involving drowsy driving in 2015.
  • A study conducted in 2014 by AAA Traffic Safety Foundation found that 37 percent of drivers report having fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in their lives.

Warning signs of drowsy driving

Drowsiness affects your ability to drive safely even if you do not completely fall asleep. A drowsy driver:

  • Is less able to pay attention to the road and road signs
  • Will have a slower reaction time to brake or turn suddenly
  • Has an effect on your ability to make good decisions

It is hard to know the exact moment when sleep comes over our bodies. The following are warning signs indicating it may be time to pull over for a nap.

  • Yawning
  • Blinking frequently
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
  • Missing road sides, turns or exits
  • Drifting from lane
  • Difficulty maintaining a steady speed
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road

Preventing drowsy driving

Turning up the volume on the radio or cracking the window open are not effective ways to keep you alert. Instead, consider the following to keep you wide-awake:

Sleep! -The most effective way to avoid dozing off while driving and potentially causing harm to yourself or others on the road is by getting enough sleep. Even one night of poor sleep can put you at risk of drowsy driving. In fact, you are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued. Most adults need seven hours of sleep a day and teens need at least eight hours. To ensure you are getting the recommended amount of sleep, stick to a sleep schedule. This is as simple as going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.

Treatment for sleep disorders. Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy put you at risk for drowsy driving, yet many people with these disorders remain untreated. If you are experiencing symptoms of a sleep disorder such as snoring or often feeling sleepy during the day, speak to your physician about treatment options that may be right for you.

Ask for help. There are times when getting enough sleep is hard to accomplish. Whether a deadline at work kept you in the office later than usual or a child feeling under the weather kept you up at night, there will be situations that we cannot change. The important thing is recognizing when you are not alert enough to operate a vehicle. When life happens and you are too exhausted to safely get behind the wheel, find an alternate option. Carpool with someone to work or ask a friend or relative to give you a ride to where you need to go.

Don’t drink and drive, ever. Drinking and driving is never a good idea. Not only are you setting yourself up for a criminal record, costly fines, and even time behind bars, you are putting your life in danger along with innocent drivers sharing the roads. Every single day in America, 30 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. In 2017, 220 children 14 and younger lost their lives due to an alcohol-impaired driver.

In addition to alcohol causing drowsiness, the same is true with some medications. If it is necessary for you to take medications, make sure to check the label for any warnings regarding drowsiness as a potential side effect.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

Crashes involving drowsy driving are preventable. If someone else’s risky driving habits such as drowsy driving left you or a loved one injured, don’t go another moment without legal representation. Speaking to the insurance company may hurt your case as their claim agent will try to use anything you say to their benefit in an attempt to settle your claim for the least amount possible. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we have the skills and resources required to protect your rights. Our legal team has devoted decades to helping victims and their families who have been injured. Our experienced Car Accident Lawyers can evaluate your claim and help you explore options for seeking maximum compensation.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We care, we can help.

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