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A drowsy driving accident may be a wake-up call

It's a fast-paced world, and there may be no place where that is more evident than a California freeway. Vehicles traveling at high rates of speed at all hours of the day or night place you at risk of an accident, especially when many of those drivers may be impaired, distracted or driving poorly maintained vehicles.

However, a recent study revealed a hazard exists on the road that you may not realize. A hectic lifestyle often means longer hours at work and less sleep for drivers. A lack of sleep behind the wheel of a motor vehicle may be a combination as lethal as drunk driving.

Less sleep equals more danger

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the rate of drowsy driving accidents has increased over the past several years. Last year, over 35,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents, and about 20 percent of those accidents involved a driver who was sleepy.

Health and safety experts recommend that you have between seven and nine hours of sleep in order to function efficiently and maintain your overall wellbeing. In fact, with every hour of sleep you lose, your risk of having an accident increases. Some startling facts may convince you how important sleep is for your safety on the highway:

  • If you have only five or six hours of sleep, you have twice as much chance of being in an accident as someone with a full seven hours' sleep.
  • If you have only four to five hours of sleep, you have a four times greater chance of being in an accident.
  • Driving on fewer than five hours of sleep presents the same risks as driving while legally intoxicated.
  • Even a 10 or 20-minute nap can lessen your chances of causing an accident from drowsy driving.
  • One third of Americans regularly get too little sleep before driving.

Since so many people are driving on too little sleep, there is always the possibility that you will be involved in an accident, even if you make sure you are sleeping enough.

Motor vehicle accidents can be disastrous, especially if the driver responsible cannot react in time to lessen the impact. Some accident victims report that, even if they walk away with minor injuries, they may suffer with lingering symptoms for years afterward.

Recovering from a motor vehicle accident may take time and money. To ensure you receive the best possible care for your injuries following an accident, you may wish to explore the options for seeking compensation for your medical bills and suffering.

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