Nothing feels better than waking up refreshed after getting a full night’s rest. The alternative can leave you feeling groggy, stressed and irritated. Not getting a full night’s sleep can also make you an unsafe driver.


We don’t often think of drowsiness as a factor in car accidents. Drug use? Alcohol? Distracted driving? Those are commonly thought of as the most dangerous driving situations. But drowsiness is just as bad in many cases.


Is There a Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Car Accidents?


According to AAA, yes. AAA concluded in the first study of its kind that drowsy drivers pose a greater risk to themselves, their passengers and other drivers.

You’re probably saying, well, yeah, of course. But this study has quantified car accidents showing that 7% of all car accidents in the United States are caused by drowsy drivers.

Extremely drowsy drivers, those who had less than four hours of sleep, were 15 times more likely to cause a car accident than drivers who received seven to nine hours of sleep. This is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.12, about 1.5 times the legal limit.

If you’ve had so much to drink that you’re stumbling to your car, you probably wouldn’t get behind the wheel to drive home. Lack of sleep can make your mind work the same way and many types of people are at risk for drowsy driving. What makes drowsiness so much more dangerous is that people don’t notice they’re impaired by their lack of sleep. There also isn’t the same stigma attached to drowsy driving as there is to drunk driving.


What Causes Car Accidents?


The root cause of car accidents is delayed reaction time. When you’re driving under the influence of alcohol, even if you’re still below the legal limit, your reaction time is delayed.

The same is true of driving drowsy. Just because you’re awake, does not mean your reaction time is any better than if you’ve had a few beers. You may feel level-headed and think you’re okay to drive, but you’re really not. In fact, you may be just as impaired from not getting a full night’s sleep as you are from drinking a few beers before getting behind the wheel. A Santa Monica car accident lawyer has seen many cases just like this.


What to Do If You’re Hit by a Drowsy Driver?


If you have injuries, call 911. If there are no injuries, you should still call 911 to get a police report. The police report will document:

  • A summary of what each driver, passenger and witness remember about the accident
  • The time, date and location of the accident
  • A diagram of the accident
  • Weather conditions


It’s important to speak with the officers about how you think the other driver may be drowsy. Drowsiness should be noted on the police report as it will allow you to share proof with your insurance company later. This will give you better standing if the police officer notes driver drowsiness on the police report. An experienced attorney can also use this information to prove negligence on the sleep-deprived driver for causing the accident.


Call Your Santa Monica Car Accident Lawyer


If you’ve been hit by a drowsy driver and you’ve suffered damage to your vehicle and injuries to yourself or a passenger, call Steinberg Injury Lawyers. We are trusted Santa Monica car accident lawyers ready to take your case.

You didn’t cause the accident, and you shouldn’t have to pay for the accident or any injuries associated with it. You owe it to yourself and to your family to contact a trusted team of car accident lawyers to be the vigorous representation you need. We’ll help you get the compensation you deserve and get you on the path to recovery.

Contact us today for a free, no obligation evaluation of your case to see who we can help you move forward.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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