Perhaps you were up all night with a crying baby or preparing for a big presentation at work. Perhaps you pulled an all-nighter studying for a final exam or work the graveyard shift. It seems like for most Americans, life in America often means being tired. In fact, the majority of adults don’t get the recommended sleep every night, and this can translate to serious and often fatal accidents on the road. A report published by the Centers for Disease Control that looked at the dangers of fatigued driving, found that over a third of all adults in the United States routinely got less than 7 hours of sleep a night.
Recently, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy driving crashes were 3x greater during the nighttime hours. Researchers monitored more than 3,500 people across the United States between 2010 and 2013 and found that drowsiness was a factor in 8.8% to 9.5% of all accidents. For crashes that involved significant property damage, sleepiness was a factor in up to 10.8% of those accidents. This is a stark difference from what researchers believed before. Previous estimates thought that drowsy driving contributed to just 1% to 2% of all accidents.
While drunk driving and distracted driving still account for the majority of car accident fatalities, drowsy driving is a major factor as well. Unfortunately, unlike drunk driving, there is no definitive way to test for drowsy driving. Yet, a 2012 study found that drowsy driving was as risky as driving drunk. In fact, after 19 hours without sleep, you will be driving similarly to someone with a BAC of 0.05. After 20 to 25 hours without sleep, you will be driving similarly to someone with a BAC of 0.1 – well over the legal limit.
How Does Sleep Deprivation Impact Driving?
Driving drowsy is dangerous and can have a significant impact on your ability to avoid serious and fatal accidents. Sleep deprivation can:
- Slow your reaction time
- Decrease alertness
- Impair decision making
- Increase aggressive driving
- Impact judgment
- Impair vision
- Impair hand-eye coordination
In order to prevent deadly car accidents from occurring, it is important to recognize the signs of drowsiness before it is too late. If you believe that you are tired, try these helpful suggestions:
- Pull over and stop the vehicle somewhere safe and rest for 20 minutes
- Stop at a nearby gas station and go for a walk or grab a cup of coffee
- Ask a passenger to drive for you
- Open the window to let in some fresh air and to invigorate you
- Consider stopping the night in a hotel to get some actual sleep
- Park your car in a parking lot and have a friend or an Uber take you home
Contact Our Pueblo Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Pueblo or anywhere in the state of Colorado, it is important to speak to an experienced and skilled car accident lawyer immediately. Your attorney can help you through this difficult time. Call Pueblo attorney Mickey W. Smith, today for a FREE CONSULTATION – (719) 544-0062.