The less you sleep, the greater your risk of having an accident
Ideally, a healthy adult should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. However, data from the CDC shows that 35 percent of American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, and 12 percent get less than 5 hours. Considering how sleep deprivation can affect car accident risk, this is a serious concern.
How Sleep Deprivation Affects Driving Ability
You don’t actually have to fall asleep behind the wheel for sleep deprivation to cause an accident. Sleep deprivation can also impair your driving ability by:
Slowing reaction time: Best case scenario, it takes about 1.5 seconds to react to a potential road hazard. At highway speeds, a car can travel over 100 feet during this time. If you’re sleepy and take longer to react, you’ll travel further and have even less chance of avoiding the hazard.
Decreasing accuracy of reactions: Sleepiness can make it more difficult to choose the correct reaction to a road hazard—should you swerve, hit the brakes, do both, or take some other action? Making the wrong choice can easily lead to an accident.
Causing long lapses in attention: It’s easy for your attention to wander when you’re tired. You may not even notice hazards in the road, or you may overlook stop signs, traffic signals, speed limits, etc.
The Less You Sleep, The Greater Your Risk of an Accident
According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the less you sleep, the more your risk of a motor vehicle accident increases. This applies not only to getting less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, but also to sleeping less than you are accustomed to.
In the study, drivers who slept 1 to 2 hours less than usual had 1.3 times the crash rate; drivers who slept 2 to 3 hours less than usual had 3 times the crash rate; drivers who slept 3 to 4 hours less than usual had 2.1 times the crash rate; and drivers who slept 4 or more hours less than usual had 10.2 times the crash rate.
Have You Been Injured?
If you have been injured in an accident that you believe was caused by a drowsy driver, you should consult an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney right away. The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker makes an excellent choice of representation. We have decades of experience and we’ve won billions of dollars in compensation for our clients. For a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at 800-333-0000 now.