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Risk of automobile accident increases with lack of sleep

Drivers in Illinois and across the U.S. will undoubtedly understand the dangers of driving under the influence, operating their vehicles in a negligent manner, or behaving recklessly when behind the wheel. What is often understated is how important it is to get the proper amount of rest before driving and what the consequences can be if this reality is ignored. Recent studies have indicated that drivers who do not get enough sleep are at twice the risk of a car crash than they would otherwise be. This can be an important factor if there is a car accident with injuries or a fatal car accident and the investigation is seeking to discover how and why it happened.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that a lack of sleep causes drivers to be at greater risk of being in an accident and that danger rises with the less sleep the person gets. If there were only four to five hours of sleep before getting behind the wheel, the risk multiplies by 4.3. With fewer than four hours, it multiplies by 11.5. This information is important particularly as the holiday season and poor weather are factors when out on the road.

A representative for AAA states that the danger of a person getting behind the wheel without sufficient sleep the night before is akin to driving drunk. When there is an accident with someone who was drinking or under the influence of drugs, it is generally discerned relatively quickly by law enforcement that the injuries or fatal drunk driving accident came about because of this. With a lack of sleep, it is difficult to determine if that was the cause.

AAA states that one in three people confessed to driving while they were tired enough that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open. With that in mind, the holiday traffic, and the potential for encountering inclement weather combined with the other factors mentioned above such as DUI, recklessness and negligence, drivers who are tired behind the wheel is something to consider as a reason when there is an automobile accident. Those who are in a crash with injuries or have lost a loved one need to make certain a full investigation is conducted to accrue evidence for a potential legal filing for compensation. An experienced attorney can be invaluable toward this end.

Source: New York Daily News, "Tired driving doubles risk of car crash -- comparable to drunk driving: study," Joe Dziemianowicz, Dec. 6, 2016

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