Many drivers underestimate the risks of driving while drowsy. However, drowsy driving is often just as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, millions of drivers have admitted that they have actually fallen asleep at the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, estimates that roughly 100,000 motor vehicle accidents are caused by drowsy driving every year. It is further estimated that approximately 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries are caused by drowsy driving accidents. The cost of these accidents is staggering: some experts speculate that drowsy driving causes $12.5 billion in damages every year.

One does not have to pull an all-nighter to be drowsy enough to cause an accident: studies show that getting less than six hours of sleep for several nights or even just a single night of sleeplessness may result in driver fatigue. Individuals with sleep disorders are especially at risk of causing accidents. For example, individuals with sleep apnea are more than five times more likely to be involved in a wreck.

Another study concluded that staying awake for a period of eighteen hours was comparable to a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent, and staying up for 24 hours is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent. Drowsy driving may clearly have deadly consequences.

Effects of Drowsy Driving

A drowsy driver may be hard to distinguish from a drunk driver. Drowsy driving may cause:

  • Reduced reaction times
  • Short attention span
  • Impaired decision-making and judgment

Signs That a Driver is too Drowsy to Drive

If you notice any of the following signs, it’s time to pull over and rest or let your passenger drive instead:

  • You have trouble remembering the last few miles you drove
  • You are yawning a lot and are frequently rubbing your eyes
  • You notice you are having trouble holding your head up
  • You feel irritable and restless
  • Your eyelids feel heavy and you are blinking a lot
  • You are having difficulty focusing and you find your mind wandering
  • You drift out of your lane

These are warning signs that you should not ignore.

Accidents Caused by Drowsy Driving

If you were involved in an accident that was caused by drowsy driving, you may be able to file a claim to seek compensation. To do so, you will need to hire a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will be with you through every step of the case, from the initial discussions with the at-fault driver’s insurance company through the trial and appeal phase, if it becomes necessary. Your odds of obtaining compensation are significantly increased with an attorney.

Speak with our Drowsy Driving Accident Attorneys in a Free Consultation

At Stein & Shulman, our attorneys have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects that drowsy driving may have on a family. Our attorneys have over four decades of experience in accident claims and fight for their clients. To schedule a free accident injury consultation, call (312) 422-0506 or visit