If you were injured in a car accident in Los Angeles, California, one of the first things you’ll want to find out is who was responsible. There are many ways that a driver can become negligent, and one of the most widespread is drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving is under-reported. Whereas there are an average of 100,000 police-reported drowsy driving crashes each year, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that the actual number is closer to 328,000. Of these, some 109,000 involve injury, and 6,400 are fatal.

How drowsiness affects driving

Fatigue makes a car crash three times more likely. Those who are drowsy have a harder time paying attention and making proper judgments; one can see how this would be dangerous behind the wheel. Drowsy drivers may not even react in time to whatever hazards they encounter on the road.

Worst of all, drowsiness can cause microsleep, a four- or five-second burst of inattention. During these episodes, drivers going at highway speed could travel the length of a football field while being oblivious to their surroundings.

Ways to prevent drowsy driving

The only real solution to drowsiness is to get sufficient sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends at least seven hours per night for adults. Those who sleep long enough but still feel drowsy may want a doctor to determine if they have a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea.

Numerous interventions can help reduce drowsy driving, including better education. Universities, for example, could set up programs that encourage safer driving. There are also crash avoidance devices, such as lane departure warning, that can be of benefit. Many people drive drowsy after taking certain medications, so in some cases, clearer labeling could help.

Legal representation for injury victims

Drowsy drivers who cause motor vehicle accidents can be held liable for the other side’s losses. If your injuries were severe, it may be wise to hire a lawyer while you focus on recovering. Perhaps you were hit by an Uber or Lyft driver, in which case the filing process may become more complex. The lawyer may handle everything with personal attention.