With most of America now on Daylight Savings Time, people have begun to adjust to the change in the schedule. Unfortunately, the “spring forward” every March is not just a simple inconvenience, but a real problem that leads to sleep deprivation and, with it, an increased rate of motor vehicle accidents. But how can a lack of sleep lead to more accidents on the road?

What Does it Mean to Drive With a Lack of Sleep?

When people talk about driving without sufficient rest, that means that someone has not gotten enough sleep to be able to pay attention while driving and react to potential road hazards. As a general rule, most adults need a minimum of six to eight hours of restful sleep to be able to avoid the potential effects of sleep deprivation. When they get less sleep, or when their sleep is not sufficiently restful, they can experience negative physical and psychological symptoms that can be dangerous on the road.

What Are the Effects of Driving While Sleep Deprived?

When people drive with a lack of sleep, they often have a very difficult time paying attention and maneuvering on the road. Their reaction time slows, their judgment becomes impaired, and they become much more easily distracted and irritable, leading to more poor driving decisions. If someone is suffering from severe sleep deprivation, they may even fall asleep while driving, which can substantially increase the risk of an accident.

Why Do People Drive When They Are Sleep Deprived?

To some extent, people drive while sleep deprived because they have no choice. Many people need to commute to work or perform errands and cannot take time off simply because they are tired. Others underestimate their level of exhaustion and try to power through with caffeine or other stimulants, which can help but are only short-term solutions. Pulling to the side of the road and getting a short nap can do wonders, but unfortunately many people choose to simply try to stay awake through sheer force of will, often to disastrous results.

What Happens if You Are Injured by a Sleep Deprived Driver?

If you have gotten into a motor vehicle accident as a result of a driver who was suffering from a lack of sleep, you may be able to seek compensation for any harm you have incurred. The only way to know for sure, however, is to speak to a lawyer with experience handling auto accidents and other personal injury cases. They can help you come up with a legal strategy, negotiate with insurers, and work to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek out the personal injury lawyers at Zlotolow & Associates. Our seasoned New York personal injury attorneys bring more than two decades of trial experience to your case. We serve all five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau and Suffolk County. Our aggressive personal injury attorneys always demand maximum compensation. We have helped thousands of clients recover through settlements and courtroom verdicts.