With more people staying at home in light of the global pandemic, South Dakota residents may be seeing fewer cars on the street than usual. Less traffic typically means fewer accidents, but this does not mean you should let your guard down. Even during the daytime, you could be at risk of getting in an accident if you or another driver is sleep deprived.

The number of people driving drowsy is surprisingly high

A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that one in five people admitted to having fallen asleep at the wheel within the past year; twice as many people admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at some point in their lives. These statistics alone should indicate that caution is always needed on the road.

Driving while tired increases the risk of an accident

Though the majority of drivers have not fallen asleep at the wheel, many have experienced “micro-sleep,” or involuntary periods of inattention. These lapses of attention can slow down a driver’s reaction times and increase the chance of a motor vehicle accident. If someone like a truck driver has gone without sleep for more than 20 hours, the impact on the driver’s functioning and reaction times is said to be the same as someone who has a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, which is the legal limit.

Who is most likely to be driving tired

People may be interested to learn that drivers under the age of 25, who are typically considered to have the most energy, make up about half of all car accidents resulting from driving while tired. This statistic may explain why a suggested method of reducing drowsy driving is to educate college students on the risks and help promote healthier lifestyles.

Though driving while tired may seem like a way of life, it is no excuse for someone who causes an auto accident. If you have been in a motor vehicle accident, whether or not any injury is immediately apparent, it may be a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney.