A three-car pile-up on Saturday night resulted after an 18-year-old fell asleep at the wheel. A 14-year-old teenager is currently in critical condition after he was ejected from the car. According to an article featured on Fox 13’s website, an 18-year-old driving a red Acura drifted off the road on I-15 around 3:00 a.m. When the Acura returned to the road, it swerved into oncoming traffic, struck a Ford Flex and ejected the 14-year old. The Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) told Fox 13 that after the first collision, the Acura was hit again by a Nissan Z.
The 14-year-old was first taken to Davis Hospital. He was then flown to the University of Utah Hospital in “extremely critical condition.” The 18-year-old was taken to a hospital in Ogden with injuries to his head and legs. According to police, neither of the two were wearing seatbelts.
All other people involved in the accident were wearing seatbelts. The driver and passenger of the Ford Flex were both transported to a hospital with injuries, and the driver of the Nissan Z received minor injuries but did not require immediate medical attention.
Utah Highway Patrol reported that the driver of the Acura had worked a 12 hour day and had just finished visiting family in the Salt Lake area when he was driving home. The occupant who was ejected from the vehicle was a cousin from Fillmore.
Driving while drowsy is never advisable, and you should always wear a safety restraint. Driving while drowsy creates a perilous situation, not only for you but everyone on the road. For example, in the news example cited above, the driver who fell asleep was not the only one affected, but also the passenger and two other cars. If you can feel your eyelids starting to feel heavy, you begin to yawn, and your vision becomes blurry, you are likely too tired to drive. Each driver needs to assess whether or not they are sufficiently alert to drive. If you are too tired, the results can be catastrophic. According to the Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of American report driving while they were tired. On top of that, 37 percent admit that they actually fell asleep while driving.
One of the foremost dangers of driving while tired is most people are unable to tell if there are about to fall asleep or not. Sleep is something that just rushes upon you. The Sleep Foundation recommends that if you experience any of the following, you should seriously consider stopping for some rest:
- Trouble staying focused on the road, constant blinking, and heavy eyelids
- Your mind wanders in a disconnected way
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles you’ve traveled (you miss your exit)
- Recurrent yawning
- Challenge to stay in your lane (drifting from one lane to another, hitting the rumble strip, etc.)
Any of these behaviors can serve as indicators that you should pull over and get more sleep. At The Advocates Law Firm, we strongly discourage driving while you are tired. As mentioned above, you never know when you are about to fall asleep, and insisting that you can struggle with the feelings of sleepiness is not admirable but foolish. If you have any questions about an accident, contact The Advocates Law Firm.