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Sleep Apnea and Driving

Did you know that driving without enough sleep can be just as harmful as driving while intoxicated?

Signs of drowsy or intoxicated driving:
Slow reaction times
Impaired vision and judgment
Weakened alertness
Lack of coordination
Those with sleep apnea are at an even greater risk of nodding off at the wheel than people who are just generally tired.

About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where individuals experience brief pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can last a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 100 times each hour. This condition results in a lack of blood oxygen. Furthermore, The brain arouses the sleeper just enough to take a breath or gasp without waking up.

Oxygen levels influence attentiveness, but when the levels are low, drowsiness is high. Without treatment the condition can become serious.

Consequences of Driving Sleepy
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep apnea does affect daytime performance as it interrupts sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can result in extreme fatigue throughout the day, which can decrease reaction time behind the wheel and lead to other ongoing symptoms. While you may not have to literally fall asleep to cause a car accident, being less alert is just enough to cause a crash or accident while driving. Compare it to someone who has had little to no sleep and how they feel the next morning, and you can see how sleep apnea can seriously have an impact on driving skills.

If you’re sleep deprived while driving, it can cause immediate danger for you and others on the road. In some states, it is considered a criminal offense, and can even result in the perpetrators spending time behind bars. Our lawyers take sleepy driving very seriously, because once there is an impact, you deal with possible life-long consequences, including:

Severe injuries
Emotional stress
Financial burden (i.e. medical bills, vehicle repair)
Tips for Safe Driving with Sleep Apnea
The first step for anyone suffering from sleep apnea is to seek treatment. Schedule a checkup or a sleep study to get diagnosed. Those with treated sleep apnea will be safer drivers and are less likely to cause a car accident.

Contact Ashenden & Hollingsworth, P.C. About a Car Accident or Injury Case
The experienced car accident and serious injury lawyers at Ashenden & Hollingsworth, P.C., can help if you or a loved one has suffered injuries from an accident due to someone falling asleep at the wheel. Come in for a free consultation; we are located right on Peachtree Dunwoody Road in metro Atlanta. Call (770) 394-8909 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment today.