A number of factors contribute to car accidents. Speeding, drunk driving and other reckless behaviors put everyone on the road at risk. Another contributing factor that may not get as much attention as it needs is sleep deprivation.
Drowsy driving poses the same dangers as drunk driving. Without enough sleep, your ability to drive safely diminishes in much the same way as it does for drunk drivers. But, how much more dangerous does the situation become when you fall asleep at the wheel if even for only a few seconds?
Let’s talk about microsleep
As the name implies, a microsleep lasts for only a few seconds. In fact, you could experience one without even knowing it. You may wonder how this relates to car accidents. It only takes a few seconds for the environment around your vehicle to change. If you experience a microsleep, you may not awaken in time to take corrective action in order to avoid a collision.
Even though most people experience microsleep late at night or early in the morning, it can happen anytime you fail to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation causes you a host of physical and mental issues. It’s linked to obesity, high blood pressure, irritability, forgetfulness and more.
Look for these warning signs and symptoms
You may be able to tell when you could experience microsleep if you notice the following:
- Your body suddenly jerks.
- Your head drops involuntarily.
- You can’t keep your eyes open.
- You blink more in order to remain awake.
- You fail to respond to information.
- You can’t remember the last couple of minutes.
- You yawn excessively.
- You feel as though you are staring blankly.
Under these circumstances, you could easily experience microsleep since these are some of the hallmarks of sleep deprivation. If you are driving at the time, you could look for additional symptoms such as missing your exit or drifting in and out of your lane.
You had enough sleep, but did the drivers around you?
Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing whether drivers around you need sleep. Any one of them could experience microsleep and cause an accident that leaves you with serious injuries. If that happens, you could sustain significant financial losses due to a loss of income during your recovery and perhaps beyond, medical expenses now and in the future, and other damages for which you deserve compensation. Filing a personal injury claim could provide you with the ability to pursue an award to cover those losses.