Driving while tired poses significant risks, both to the person suffering from fatigue and to the other drivers on the road. Fatigue has been shown to have as significant an effect on reaction times as alcohol. A person who has not slept in 24 hours is as dangerous a driver as a person with a blood-alcohol level sufficient to be arrested for extreme DUI.
There is no substitute for sleep, but some drivers will attempt to mitigate the effects of fatigue using supplements. This is most common for truck drivers, but they are not the only ones who push the envelope. People making cross-country trips, or just trying to get home after a long, sleepless flight, might also seek outside sources of “wakefulness.”
The most common way to fight tiredness is to use a stimulant. The most readily available stimulant is caffeine. Millions of Americans use coffee to get through their workday mornings, and coffee is the go-to source of caffeine for many drivers as well. Some convenience stores even offer supplementary caffeine packets to add to your coffee to increase its kick. Caffeine is also available in concentrated pill forms.
For those who are truly desperate to stay awake, methamphetamine can be illegally procured. Though it does significant damage to the brain and central nervous system, methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant. It is extremely rare for a casual driver to use this substance to stay awake on the road, but truckers who need to finish their run on time might be tempted.
Though accidents caused by driver fatigue can take place any time, they are most likely to happen late at night or early in the morning. If you are in an accident, and you suspect driver fatigue may have been responsible, retain an experienced attorney who can help you fight for the information you need to make your case.