Most of us have driven when we were a bit tired at one point or another. Opening a window for fresh air, turning the radio up, getting out and walking around are common ways people attempt to get the blood flowing and brain in gear again. Though many states don’t have specific laws against it, officers can issue tickets for inattentive, distracted, careless, reckless or negligent driving for driving when drowsy. Add alcohol to the mix and Driving While Impaired (DWI) can enter the scenario.
If you are driving when drowsy, it impairs your ability to drive safely and responsibly. It’s dangerous. It’s a risk to you and other drivers because:
§ Your ability to focus is lessened
§ Your judgment is impaired
§ Your depth perception is hindered
§ Your reaction times increase
§ Your coordination is diminished
In other words, it can lead to accidents, human injury (even death), property damage and potential tickets. It is often considered a major violation.
Will your car insurance cover the damage?
If something happens, your auto insurance often does cover the damage you cause when you fall asleep, but it’s not guaranteed. States and car insurance carriers are all different so there is no general answer.
Why you fell asleep could be a factor in determining if your policy covers it. Were you drinking and driving? Perhaps you have a medical condition such as narcolepsy that causes you to fall asleep often; if so, did you disclose it to them? Was it just a long day at work and you dozed off? Your insurance company claims representative wants to know why you fell asleep at the wheel. Then, in many situations, your policy’s liability insurance could cover losses to another person’s belongings. For example, it may cover damage to another driver’s car if you hit that driver after falling asleep. It may also pay for your damage, but your company’s claims representative will walk you through your coverage on a case-by-case basis.
However, if you were driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs, your insurance likely won't cover the damage. If you received a ticket for reckless or distracted driving, your insurance company may not pay out. Why? Because, the debate would go, you could have prevented the accident had you acted more responsibly.
When you obtain auto insurance, the carriers ask you about any medical, mental or physical impairments on the applications. If you have a medical condition that may cause you to fall asleep behind the wheel, be sure to tell your agent so you can get with the right carrier for your situation. In some cases, your car insurance policy is void if you fail to disclose this type of information. Insurance companies need to know if you have any condition that affects your driving.
The key is to be sure you have an adequate amount of auto insurance in place. Let your agent know about any risk factors that apply to you. This can help ensure that you’re with the right carrier and increase the likelihood that your car insurance remains in place even if you do have an incident like this.
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