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How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Your Driving Ability?

The average car weighs more than 4,000 pounds, and the average speed limit on highways in Louisiana is 55 miles per hour. These two simple facts are all you need to know in order to understand why drowsy driving is so dangerous.

If you’re hurtling down the highway at 55 miles per hour in a vehicle that weighs more than two tons, nodding off for even a few seconds can have disastrous consequences. In fact, National Public Radio reports that motorists who sleep less than six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as those who get at least seven hours of sleep in that same period.

If you were hurt in a collision with a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages. A Lafayette auto accident attorney from Laborde Earles Law Firm will help you fight for the maximum payout. Call 800-522-6733 to schedule a free case evaluation.

How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Your Driving Ability?

Sleep deprivation has both short- and long-term effects on the body. The long-term effects pose life-threatening risks to your physical health. The short-term effects, on the other hand, pose a serious danger to your safety because of the way they interfere with your ability to complete simple tasks. Potential long-term effects of sleep deprivation include:

  • Hypertension;
  • Heart attack;
  • Stroke;
  • Obesity; and
  • Depression or other mood disorders.

If you do not get as much sleep as you should but you feel fairly healthy, the long-term effects of sleep deprivation probably do not scare you. But you need to be aware of the short-term effects because they can affect your everyday life—and your driving ability—in profound ways. Potential short-term effects of sleep deprivation include:

  • Anxiety;
  • Forgetfulness;
  • Poor memory;
  • Poor concentration;
  • Cognitive impairment; and
  • Decreased awareness.

At the end of the day, sleep deprivation inhibits you from operating a motor vehicle safely because it affects your ability to focus on the road ahead. It also slows down your reaction time, so even if you do spot a hazard up ahead, you might not be able to react in time to avoid a collision.

What Are the Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving?

If you can feel yourself getting tired behind the wheel, it is essential that you pull over to a safe place and take a power nap or purchase an energy drink that contains caffeine. Signs of drowsy driving include:

  • Drifting from your lane and hitting the rumble strip;
  • Blinking frequently or yawning excessively;
  • Missing a turn or an exit that you were supposed to take; and
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles that you drove.

If you sustained injuries in a collision with a drowsy driver, turn to Laborde Earles Law Firm for quality legal representation. We have helped our clients recover more than $200 million in cash settlements and verdicts.

Call 800-522-6733 to schedule a free consultation with an injury lawyer in Lafayette. If you want to learn more about filing a successful car accident claim in Louisiana, visit the USAttorneys website.