We have all been there: making our daily drive to work after a sleepless night. Sleep experts recommend that the average adult should get anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. However, that’s easier said than done. While a lack of sleep can make you feel groggy and short-tempered, it can also affect your ability to drive safely.
Why Sleep-Deprived Drivers Are More Likely to Cause Accidents
Sleep-deprived drivers are more likely to cause car accidents. This is because your body not only needs sleep to function but also to be alert and aware. Being sleep-deprived is similar to consuming alcohol in that it slows your reaction time. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.
Even if you don’t fall asleep while driving, you can expect your reaction times to be slower. If someone slams their brakes in front of you, it may take longer for you to notice and hit your own brakes.
How To Avoid a Sleep-Deprived Car Accident
One of the biggest problems with a lack of sleep affecting your ability to drive safely is that there isn’t a magic number. Some people can easily get by with eight hours of sleep, whereas others may need more. It’s even possible for you to get ample sleep one night but still feel restless if the quality of sleep isn’t good.
Instead of aiming for a specific number of hours of sleep, it may be better to learn to understand the signs of sleep deprivation. Learning to tell when you’re too fatigued to drive can help you make safe choices. A few signs of sleep deprivation may include:
- The inability to keep your eyes open
- Unwillingly moving into nearby lanes
- Feeling forgetful
- Missing an exit or turn
If you find that you’re changing lanes or driving without remembering details about your drive, you may be sleep deprived. If you miss your exit on the freeway or don’t know where to turn on a route you’ve driven a few hundred times, it could be due to a lack of sleep. You know your driving habits better than anyone, which means you’ll know when you’re not being as careful.
Driving With Limited Sleep When You Don’t Have an Option
Avoiding driving when you’re tired may not always be an option. You probably can’t call out of work every time you don’t sleep well. You may still have childcare or errand duties even when you’re feeling tired. Awareness is a great first step to avoiding an accident when tired. If you know that you’re more tired than usual, consider taking more breaks.
Grab a cup of coffee or turn up the volume on your favorite playlists. If you take medications that increase your fatigue, try to schedule them when you’re not driving for a few weeks to find out how they affect you. Consider carpooling to work if you live near any of your coworkers. You can always call a taxi or rideshare as a last resort if you don’t have any other options. If you’re extremely tired, calling out of work may be a better idea than taking the risk that can come with sleep-deprived driving.
Contact a Point Pleasant Beach Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. represent clients injured because of a car accident in Edison, Brick, Freehold, Point Pleasant Beach, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 906-1500 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820, as well as offices in Brick, Freehold, and Point Pleasant Beach, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.