Driving Under The Influence Of Sleep

Over the years, driving under the influence of alcohol has been perceived to be the leading cause of car accidents resulting in tens of thousands of injuries and millions upon millions spent on accident settlements. According to the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .05 which is considered legal, increases a driver’s chances of causing an accident by 100%, which is higher than that of a sober driver. However, the issue of road safety can not be entirely dealt with without reviewing other factors that contribute to the increase in the number of car accidents. As unlikely as it might seem, driving under the influence of sleep can significantly increase the likelihood of causing an accident.

A report drafted by the Automobile Association of America (AAA) indicates that drivers who have 6-7 hours of sleep before driving are 30% more likely to cause an accident compared to those who have 7-plus hours of sleep. What’s more shocking is that as sleep time decreases, the likelihood of causing an accident increases significantly as shown below.

  • 5-6 hrs of sleep – 90% more likely to cause an accident.
  • 4-5 hrs of sleep – 430% more likely to cause an accident.
  • Less than 4 hrs of sleep – 1,150% more likely to cause an accident.

Based on the numbers above, it’s evident that driving after sleeping for only 4-5 hours the night before is like driving with a BAC of .10 which is punishable by jail time due to the increased chances of causing an accident. Worse, if you have less than 4 hours of sleep before driving, you’re no different than someone who is driving with a BAC of .15! Although driving under the influence of sleep is not illegal, it’s very dangerous not only to you but also to other drivers and pedestrians. Also, it will cost you when you have to look for an accident attorney to assist you with your case.

The main point here is, to be sure to have enough sleep if you’re planning to be on the road the next day. As a driver, having enough sleep before driving will not only improve your road safety but also your metabolism (The process that generates energy for your body), mental health, decision-making ability, alertness, and much more. The following tips can help you have enough sleep at night.

  • Maintain a regular sleeping routine to get your body and brain into a natural sleeping rhythm.
  • Avoid screen time for at least one hour before bedtime as the blue beams from screens such as computers, phones, and televisions can affect your natural ability to sleep. When you go to bed, make sure the room is dark too.
  • Eat at least 2 hours before bedtime to allow your body to digest the food. When you go to bed, your body will fully focus on resting.
  • Keep a notepad near you if thoughts keep you awake at night and try writing your thoughts down to review the following day. You can also use a recording device for this purpose.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic drinks before going to bed as they stimulate your brain thus affecting your ability to relax.
  • Avoid excessive napping during the day if you have trouble sleeping at night. Limit naps to 15-20 minutes and don’t nap after 3 p.m.

You can easily avoid accidents by ensuring you’re always in the right state of body and mind when driving. If you’re involved in an accident or need any accident-related help, don’t die alone; reach out to your Fort Collins accident attorney for assistance.

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