Rideshare Accidents Caused by Drowsy Lyft Drivers
Lyft drivers often work long hours, frequently driving late into the night. As the hours on the clock increase, so do their rates—and in the middle of the night, they’re more likely to get those high-dollar fares as the bars clear out, parties end, and inebriated people need a safe ride home. Unfortunately, the later it gets, the more tired even the most experienced driver becomes. Drowsy Lyft drivers can cause plenty of problems on the road. If you get in the car with a drowsy driver, make sure you know how to respond and avoid getting involved in a Lyft accident.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving is a serious problem on American highways. Increasing numbers of adults deal with sleep deprivation on a regular basis. Drowsy driving continues to carry with it substantial dangers, including:
- Increased risk of fatalities on the road. Drowsy driving accidents accounted for 2.2 percent or more of all fatalities in 2015.
- Elevated crash risk. Drowsy drivers are more likely to end up in accidents than their well-rested counterparts. Crash risk increases the longer drowsy drivers have been awake or the less sleep they got the night before.
- Increased damage in an accident. Drowsy drivers are less likely to respond the way they should to circumstances on the road, from oncoming vehicles to their own struggles to stay on the road. Their reflexes are slowed, their responses dulled, and their attention is torn away from the road, making it increasingly difficult for them to keep up with appropriate driving behaviors.
Drowsy drivers may not need other vehicles in order to be involved in an accident. Drowsy drivers are often involved in single-vehicle accidents—and you don’t want your Lyft vehicle to be that single vehicle.
Signs of Drowsy Driving
How do you know your Lyft driver may be driving drowsy? Drowsy driving is increasingly common in the late hours of the night or early hours of the morning. To spot whether your Lyft driver may be struggling to stay awake behind the wheel, look for these signs.
- Brief jerks or the appearance of nodding off. Nodding off behind the wheel is the primary sign of drowsy driving, and it should be dealt with quickly. If you see your Lyft driver’s head jerking frequently or drooping as they’re driving, it’s a sign of drowsiness. You should also take note of frequent blinking, fluttering eyelids, or eyes that stay closed longer than they should while the driver is operating the vehicle.
- Drifting off the road, then jerking the car back. If your Lyft driver appears to be struggling to pay attention to the road, it may be a sign of drowsy driving. Also, note a driver who frequently allows the car to drift into the rumble strip at the side of the road or engages in other dangerous driving behavior.
- Your Lyft driver is yawning frequently. Frequent yawning is a sign that your Lyft driver is very fatigued and struggling to stay awake. Don’t ignore it. Ask your driver questions and strike up a conversation. Simple conversation doesn’t just help keep them awake, it can also help you assess the driver’s condition.
- Your Lyft driver seems confused or doesn’t seem to realize how they got to a certain location in the road. Losing track of the passage of time is a common sign of drowsy driving and should be approached appropriately.
- Your Lyft driver misses the exit or fails to make a turn. Driving in the dark, it can be difficult to clearly see street signs. Large exit signs, however, are much harder to miss, especially when driving with a GPS. If your driver is struggling to follow the directions given by their app, they may be struggling to stay awake and alert.
- Your driver has a slow response to changing traffic signals. The light turns green, but they’re slow to move on. They react slowly to a yellow light or wait too late to stop. Slow responses to common traffic signals may indicate drowsiness.
Do You Suspect Your Lyft Driver is Drowsy?
If you suspect your Lyft driver is drowsy, you shouldn’t simply leave them to their own devices. Instead, try some of these strategies to make sure you arrive safely at your destination.
- Engage the driver in conversation. This can often help keep drivers awake and alert. Ask your driver how long they’ve been driving or if they’ve had adequate sleep. Let them know that they seem sleepy and remind them that it isn’t safe to drive that way. They may be ready to call it and go home for the night after they deliver you to your destination, and calling attention to that drowsy behavior may remind them that it’s time to end the night.
- Offer your driver a cold drink. No, not the alcoholic kind. While caffeine won’t help much, it can help break up the monotony of a long night behind the wheel and make it easier for your driver to stay awake long enough to finish your ride and get home.
- End the ride. If you notice that your Lyft driver drowsy, end the ride. You always have the right to end a Lyft ride at any time. You can summon another Lyft driver or use another method to get to your destination, which is often safer than remaining in the car with a drowsy driver.
- Encourage your driver to take a break. A brief nap by the side of the road is often enough to help a driver wake up enough to get home safely. You don’t have to wait in the car with them; instead, consider ending the ride.
Get Legal Help After a Drowsy Driving Accident
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a drowsy Lyft driver, make sure you have the legal support you need to understand how to proceed from here. Email the Dolman Law Firm’s Clearwater office at (727) 451-6900 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about the services we offer.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765