How Does Sleep Deprivation Lead to Accidents in California?

driver experiencing sleep deprivation

When you wake up in the morning, you may feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. However, the same cannot be said for other drivers. Unfortunately, drivers experiencing sleep deprivation are at an increased risk of causing an accident. If you were injured by a drowsy driver, understanding the steps you can take following the accident is essential. Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of sleep deprivation while driving and how a San Mateo County, California car accident lawyer can help you through the process.


Whether a driver didn’t get a good night’s sleep or they’ve been awake for hours on end, getting behind the wheel while tired may not seem like a big deal. However, it can be extraordinarily dangerous to drive when tired.

When a driver is experiencing sleep deprivation, it can resemble driving under the influence. This is because our body’s reaction time, vision, and decision-making are impacted by drowsiness. In fact, studies have found that a driver who has not slept for twenty hours is equivalent to driving at the legal intoxication limit.

Many times, drivers who are tired will also experience what’s known as microsleep. These are short two to five-second periods of time in which the driver loses consciousness.


To stay safe on the road, drivers should refrain from driving when they have had no rest for an extended period of time. You can tell if someone is experiencing sleep deprivation if they are unable to keep their eyes open or their head up, have delayed reactions to hazards, and cannot stay in their lane.

Similarly, drivers who cannot recall the past few minutes or miles of driving may be experiencing brain fog due to exhaustion. It is up to the driver to pull over and rest before they continue traveling to prevent an unnecessary accident.


If you were injured by a drowsy driver, taking the necessary steps after the accident is crucial. The most important thing you should do is contact emergency services to request a police presence and immediate medical attention for any injuries you’ve sustained.

After your wounds are treated and if you are physically able, you should take as many photos and videos of the scene as possible. This can help provide necessary evidence when filing a suit. Similarly, you should speak with any witnesses who can saw the accident occur and who can attest to the fact that the driver responsible for the accident was sleeping or had their eyes closed.

Finally, you’ll want to contact the Law Offices of Allister R. Liao to connect with a competent and experienced attorney. Our dedicated legal team will work hard to fight for the compensation you deserve for the harm and damages you’ve sustained due to a sleep-deprived driver. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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