Falling asleep at the wheel can have deadly consequences

People who are hit by another car often note that they “never saw it coming.” Those to do have time to recognize a crash risk typically only have a matter of seconds to try and avoid it. Unfortunately, a few seconds is rarely enough time to do so.

However, a few seconds can be plenty of time to make a serious mistake behind the wheel. For instance, drivers who fall asleep — even if it’s only for 10 seconds — put themselves and other motorists in danger of being killed in a car accident.

Sleeping behind the wheel is a major cause for concern. Barreling down the highway with your eyes closed, your hands off the wheel and your brain shut off can make you a serious hazard. You can easily crash into walls or other vehicles, drift out of your lane and fail to stay at an appropriate speed.

A driver doesn’t even need to be fully asleep to pose a threat to others. People experiencing what are called micro-sleeps can quickly lose control of a vehicle. Micro-sleeps, which are discussed further in this BBC article, only last a matter of seconds but they can significantly affect drivers. Even drowsy drivers can experience impaired decision-making skills and delayed response times, though their eyes may be open and they are technically awake.

In the event that you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident, you may want to consider whether there is reason to suspect that another driver’s fatigue or sleeping caused the accident. There are factors that could suggest this behavior led to a crash and working with an attorney to identify and explore these factors can be crucial.