Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Car Accidents

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Auto Accidents

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Car Accidents

I’m Ed Smith, a Lincoln Auto Accident Attorney. Chronic medical problems are known to have an impact on someone’s ability to drive. Without a doubt, obstructive sleep apnea is growing in its prevalence throughout this country and can make it a challenge for someone to drive without falling asleep behind the wheel.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic medical condition that is becoming more common due to the increase of diabetes and obesity in our population. With obstructive sleep apnea, people often snore while they’re sleeping at night. However, snoring can get worse the heavier people get. The extra adipose tissue around the throat can cause the throat to close while people are sleeping, making it hard to breathe. When the oxygen levels in the blood start to drop, the brain can be deprived of one of its most essential nutrients. The brain sends a signal to the body that it is being starved of oxygen and wakes the body up. This means that people with obstructive sleep apnea can have trouble getting a full night’s rest, making them chronically drowsy and tired all the time. This can make them prone to falling asleep during the day.

An Impact on Auto Accidents: Challenges of Safe Driving

For people with obstructive sleep apnea, there is the chance that they could fall asleep behind the wheel of a car. Drivers who are tired or fatigued behind the wheel can be compared to a drunk driver regarding their risk to others on the road. If drivers fall asleep behind the wheel, they lose control of the vehicle which puts them at risk of being involved in an auto accident, leading to serious injuries. Without the ability to press the brakes, these accidents often occur at high speeds, making people prone to suffering a catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death.

Moving Forward with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There are many questions that people have about accidents involving obstructive sleep apnea. One of the most common is whether or not people should be allowed to drive if they have this medical condition. There are already regulations about other chronic medical conditions and their impact on driving, such as problems with seizures and eyesight. While the rules around this condition and driving are not universal, those who do have obstructive sleep apnea should be aware of the risks that they pose to other drivers.

Lincoln Car Accident Lawyers 

I’m Ed Smith, a Lincoln Auto Accident Attorney. If you’ve been injured in an accident that involved falling asleep behind the wheel or obstructive sleep apnea, call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

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Image Attribution: The image from the top was found on Unsplash and has been reproduced here with permission.

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