When a driver gets behind the wheel while feeling tired, the risks are substantial for those who are sharing the roadway at the same time. This is because drowsy driving significantly impairs a driver’s reaction time and increases the likelihood of a crash occurring. If you were injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. It is important to consult with an attorney rather than attempting to negotiate a settlement on your own in order to maximize your chances of obtaining a sufficient recovery for your injuries and losses.
3 Sleep-Related Issues Leading to Drowsy Driving Accidents
There are many sleep-related factors that can contribute to car accidents caused by drowsy drivers. Here are just three ways in which disrupted sleep can cause problems:
- Sleep loss. When a driver has gotten too little sleep, his or her alertness is severely affected. Most people require between seven and nine hours of sleep during a 24-hour period in order to feel rested and exhibit optimal driving performance. Sleeping less—especially if it is less than four hours—can impair the ability to drive. Unfortunately, the effects of sleep loss are also cumulative. This means that consistently losing even just one or two hours of sleep per night can result in a “sleep debt” that can lead to chronic tiredness over time.
- Sleep fragmentation. Even if a driver has spent seven to nine hours in bed during a 24-hour period, his or her ability to drive can still be impaired if that sleep was fragmented. Sleep fragmentation occurs when sleep is disrupted. There are many causes of sleep fragmentation, including noise, activity, lighting, or being on-call for work.
- Circadian factors. Every individual has an internal circadian pacemaker within his or her body that regularly produces feelings of sleepiness during the afternoon and evening. If these circadian sleep patterns become disrupted, the overall quality of sleep can suffer. As a result, the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle may be impaired.
If you were injured as a result of a drowsy driver, it is important to act quickly to protect your legal rights. We encourage you to contact us today for more information at 866-299-0558.