Getting behind the wheel of any vehicle when you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs is well known to be dangerous and to significantly increase your risk of being involved in a crash. But the same is also true for getting behind the wheel when you’re exhausted or drowsy, whether from sleep deprivation or certain medications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, and many of those people get fewer than six hours of sleep per night. Chronic sleep deprivation produces symptoms that are similar to driving while intoxicated, including reduced reaction times, poor judgment, and impaired fine motor skills. It also increases the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Even well-rested adults face dangers in the form of certain types of prescription and over-the-counter medications when they cause drowsiness as a side effect. There are many types of medications that produce that side effect, including antidepressants, pain medications, allergy treatments, cold treatments, sleep aids, and even some herbal supplements.
It’s important to avoid driving when taking medications or supplements that cause drowsiness. In addition, you should pull over if you feel drowsy or sleepy behind the wheel. Falling asleep even for a few seconds at a time—known as microsleep—is enough to cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
At Ponce Law, it’s our goal to help people who have been hurt in crashes that weren’t their fault. If you were injured in a crash, contact our Nashville auto accident lawyers today. We’ll fight to help you get maximum compensation.