Why Do Drowsy Driving Car Accidents Happen?

Drowsy driving is a serious problem with potentially fatal consequences. If you’re feeling drowsy, don’t take the risk.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC),  drowsy driving accidents are responsible for around 100,000 crashes and 1,550 deaths every year in the US. Clearly, this is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. But why do drowsy driving accidents happen in the first place?

tired driver behind the wheel

Not Getting Enough Sleep

This is perhaps the leading contributor to drowsy driving accidents. The CDC recommends that adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night, but many people don’t get nearly that much. In fact, one-third of Americans get six hours of sleep or less every night. If you’re not getting enough rest, your body isn’t able to function at its best. This means you’ll be more likely to make mistakes and won’t be able to react as quickly if something unexpected happens while driving.

Untreated Sleep Disorders

Another common cause of drowsy driving accidents is untreated sleep disorders. According to the CDC,  chronic sleep-related problems affect around 70 million Americans.  Of these, only a handful are being treated. Many people with sleep disorders are not even aware that they have a problem. Undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders can have serious consequences, including drowsy driving accidents. If you suspect you might have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor. Getting the treatment you need can help you avoid becoming another statistic.

Medications That Cause Drowsiness

Many people don’t realize that the medications they’re taking can make them drowsy and put them at risk for a crash. Some common offenders include antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, prescription painkillers, and even some over-the-counter cold remedies. If you’re taking any of these medications, be sure to read the label carefully and talk to your doctor about any potential risks. And if you’re feeling drowsy after taking medication, don’t get behind the wheel. 

Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol

Another leading cause of drowsy driving is driving while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol can cause drowsiness by disrupting the body’s natural sleep cycles and impairing judgment and motor skills. Even a small amount of alcohol can make it difficult to stay awake behind the wheel, and as alcohol levels continue to rise, so does the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. In addition, alcohol impairment affects reaction time, coordination, and decision-making, which are essential for safe driving. 

Medical Conditions

Though anyone can be a victim of drowsy driving, those with certain medical conditions are at an increased risk. Sleep apnea, for example, is a disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during the night. This can lead to chronic fatigue and make it hard to concentrate during the day. Other conditions, such as narcolepsy, can cause people to suddenly fall asleep without warning. 

Drowsy driving is a serious problem with potentially fatal consequences. If you’re feeling drowsy, don’t take the risk. Pull over and rest or wait until you can drive when you’re more alert. Remember, it’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others just to save a few minutes.

St. Louis Car Injury Attorney

If you were involved in a crash caused by a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced St. Louis car injury attorney can evaluate your case and help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact The Hoffman Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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Updated: June 28, 2022