When people think of impaired driving, drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol usually come to mind. However, drowsiness may also cause significant impairments for motorists. Due to these impairments, drowsy drivers may have an increased risk of causing or getting into motor vehicle accidents.
Understanding the risk and dangers of driving while drowsy may help people protect themselves, their passengers and the others with whom they share the roads.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers who do not get adequate sleep at night may have a risk of driving while overly tired or fatigued. Not getting enough sleep may result from various factors, including having untreated sleep disorders. Additionally, shift workers and commercial vehicle drivers, as well as those taking certain over-the-counter and prescribed medications, may also have an increased risk of drowsy driving.
Effects of drowsiness on drivers
According to the National Safety Council, drowsy drivers may experience a range of impairments, which may affect their ability to safely operate their vehicles. Drowsiness may slow people’s reaction times, reduce their ability to focus and stay attentive, and decrease their awareness of dangers. Drivers who get behind the wheel after more than 20 hours without sleep may experience impairments similar to those exhibited by motorists with blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08%.
When drowsy drivers get behind the wheel, they may cause accidents that result in serious injuries or death for others. Those injured in such crashes, or the families of those killed in drowsy driving accidents, may consider consulting with legal representation to understand their options for pursuing compensation for their collision-associated losses.