Does my car insurance cover falling asleep at the wheel?
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UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021
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- Your insurance will often cover accidents involving falling asleep at the wheel
- The coverage you have will determine how much is covered
- Your requirements differ based on being in an at fault vs tort state
- Your doctor might send information to the DMV that will affect your car insurance in the future
Falling asleep at the wheel has the potential to cause a significant amount of damage as well as injuries. Many people across the United States have fallen asleep while driving and insurance will cover some of the claims.
It’s important to look at the various scenarios that could occur when falling asleep at the wheel and what kind of coverage you have on your policy.
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What could happen if you fall asleep at the wheel?
Approximately 37 percent of drivers in the United States have admitted to falling asleep while driving.
Depending on road conditions, how long you fall asleep for, and more, a lot can happen. You might get into an accident with another vehicle, or crash into a guard rail, a light pole or something else.
There’s no way of telling what kind of damage you could do to your car or another vehicle. There might be injuries involved as well.
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What coverage should you have on your policy?
One of the first things to look at is whether you live in a tort or no-fault state. A no-fault state means that everyone is responsible for their own medical bills.
A tort state means the at-fault driver is responsible for the other person’s medical payments as well as lost wages and other expenses.
If you live in a no-fault state, then your state likely requires you to have PIP or personal injury protection coverage.
PIP would cover your medical bills as a result of falling asleep at the wheel, even if it was someone else’s fault.
State-required insurance would take care of property damage of the other person’s vehicle. However, if you want to make sure you are able to repair your own car, you would also need collision coverage.
Collision coverage is what allows you to repair damages from a collision, even if it is your fault. If you don’t hit another car but hit something else, such as a guard rail, you would also be covered with collision coverage.
The Dangers of Falling Asleep at the Wheel
Tired driving is extremely dangerous because of the demands on the road. Whether you are the only one on the road or you are in an area with high traffic, your full attention needs to be turned on.
Various groups are at a higher risk of falling asleep, including
- Business travelers
- Commercial drivers
- Young drivers, particularly men, under the age of 26
- People who have medical conditions related to sleep, some of whom might be undiagnosed or untreated
There might be medical factors that contribute to falling asleep at the wheel. As many as 20 percent of Americans have excessive daytime sleepiness, called EDS.
Be sure you know how to identify if you’re drowsy driving. Some of the warning signs include:
- feeling restless
- excessive blinking
- heavy eyelids
- drifting from your lane or hitting a rumble strip
- yawning repeatedly
- difficulty keeping your head up
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should take your situation very seriously and consider your next actions.
How to Prevent Falling Asleep at the Wheel
There are countermeasures to prevent falling asleep at the wheel. Before you get on the road, be sure you get at least seven to nine hours of sleep.
You should also follow a few other tips.
- Schedule breaks every few hours when on the road.
- Have another licensed driver in the car with you.
- Avoid sedatives and alcohol when getting behind the wheel.
- Drink caffeine while on the road.
- Be aware of the signs that show fatigue, such as excessive yawning.
If you fall asleep at the wheel and get into an accident, insurance will cover at least a portion of the damage.
You have to look at what happened during the accident and the kind of coverage that you have. By ensuring you have PIP and collision coverage on your policy, you would be protected against virtually every scenario that could result from falling asleep while driving.
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