Many of us keep busy schedules. Between our jobs, home life, and social activities, it is easy to fall behind when it comes to sleep. Unfortunately, in addition to making you feel tired and lethargic, not maintaining a regular sleep schedule can have major impacts on your overall health. In addition to increasing the odds of illnesses and potentially serious diseases, lack of sleep can make you more accident-prone. This can prove potentially life-threatening when you are behind the wheel. Our Oregon car accident lawyers explain the risks when it comes to drowsy driving and who is likely to be most susceptible.
How Being Tired Impacts Your Driving Abilities
Lack of sleep is a common dilemma that many people face. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), getting eight hours of sleep at night should be a top priority. Anything less has negative impacts on your immune system and puts you at risk for potentially serious health conditions, including heart attacks, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Lack of sleep can also make you more accident-prone and can dramatically increase your car accident risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that drowsy driving is a common contributing cause of car crashes and collisions, potentially impacting millions of people each year. Even missing just one or two hours of sleep can have the following impacts on your driving abilities:
- Increased distraction: Lack of sleep makes it harder to focus on the road and what is going on around you;
- Reduced coordination: Being tired makes you less capable of juggling multiple tasks behind the wheel, such as steering, using turn signals, and applying brakes;
- Reduced response times: Drowsy drivers can take up to 30 seconds longer to respond to unexpected events, which is long enough to cause a crash;
- Impaired vision: Being tired and yawning can cause double or blurred vision.
Who Is At Risk For Drowsy Driving?
Ultimately, not getting enough sleep can make you more susceptible to nodding off and falling asleep behind the wheel, particularly when on long trips. This can result in potentially devastating car accidents in Oregon. The National Sleep Foundation warns that drowsy driving can impact anyone. However, those most likely to be affected include:
- People with sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea;
- People who work swing shifts, which often interrupt overall patterns of sleep;
- New parents, who may be up at night taking care of crying infants;
- College students, who frequently pull ‘all-nighters’ cramming for exams or partying;
- Anyone with an active social schedule, which can make sleep less of a priority;
- Truck drivers, who are often required to work long shifts and spend their nights traveling;
- Business travelers and people on vacation, who may be suffering from jetlag or have otherwise interrupted sleep schedules.
How To Reduce Drowsy Driving Car Accident Risks
There are all types of strategies people employ to help counteract the effects of being tired while driving. These include:
- Rolling down car windows, letting fresh air into your vehicle;
- Turning up the radio and singing along to stay awake;
- Drinking lots of coffee or other caffeinated beverages;
- Taking over-the-counter stimulants.
Unfortunately, while these are widely embraced by many drivers, they actually do little to combat the effects of being tired. The only way to prevent drowsy driving is to focus on getting enough sleep. Try going to bed at the same time each evening and relaxing with a book rather than staring at cell phones or other electronic devices. If you simply must be behind the wheel and feel yourself getting tired, pull over at the first safe location and close your eyes for ten minutes or more.
Reach Out To Our Oregon Car Accident Lawyers
Drowsy driving is a common problem on roads in Oregon and increases the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries. These types of crashes can happen at any time of day but are most likely at night and during the early morning hours. If you are involved in a crash and suspect drowsy driving is to blame, reach out to the Johnston Law Firm.
As experienced Oregon car accident lawyers, we can conduct a full investigation into your case and gather the evidence needed to hold the at-fault driver accountable. To get the compensation you need to recover, reach out and call (503) 546-3167 or contact our office online and request a consultation today.