While drowsy driving may not seem as dangerous as other behaviors behind the wheel, such as drunk driving or distracted driving, an article from the National Sleep Foundation emphasizes that “drowsy driving is dangerous because sleep deprivation can have similar effects on your body as drinking alcohol.” Indeed, when a person is awake for 18 hours without getting any rest, that person’s impairment level is similar to that of a person with a 0.05 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). And when an individual is awake for 24 hours without sleeping is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10, or above the legal limit.

Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous. What else do you need to know about sleep deprivation and impaired driving crashes in Oklahoma?

Missing Even a Couple Hours of Sleep Can Double Your Risk of a Crash

You might be thinking that it makes sense that going for 18 to 24 hours without sleep could lead to a car crash. But how does a limited night of sleep affect an individual’s ability to drive safely? According to a report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a study determined that “drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for a crash.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 35 percent—or more than one-third of all drivers—do not get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Crash Risk Increases With Each Hour of Sleep Lost

Not only can missing one to two hours of sleep each night (in other words, sleeping for only five or six hours per night) greatly increase your risk of a collision, but that risk increases with each additional hour of sleep a person fails to get. For instance, the AAA study determined that drivers who get only four to five hours of sleep each night more than quadruple their risk of causing a collision.

To put that number in perspective, that accident risk is the same for a drunk driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And risk becomes greater with each hour of sleep missed. For example, sleeping for fewer than four hours in any given night puts a driver at more than 11 times the crash risk of a driver who slept for at least seven hours.

Filing a Claim in a Drowsy Driving Accident

Drowsy drivers can be held responsible for accidents and injuries. Choosing to drive without getting enough sleep is negligent, and anyone who suffers the consequences of another motorist’s careless behavior should be able to seek compensation. An experienced Oklahoma auto accident lawyer can help. Contact Lobaugh Law today.