Sleep gamblers take big chances – Another risk factor for drowsy drivers in Carolina accidents

North Carolina researchers at Duke University have found a correlation between sleep deprivation and risky behavior; just one more reason drowsy drivers may be at high risk for car accidents in Charlotte and throughout the Carolinas.
Time Magazine reports sleepy brains tend to make overly optimistic gambles.

Our car accident attorneys in Charlotte, Asheville and throughout the Carolinas have reported on the dangers of drowsy driving before. Nationwide, nearly half of all drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point. One in 10 admitted to having done so in the past year.
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“When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous. Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “We need to change the culture so that not only will drivers recognize the dangers of driving while drowsy but will stop doing it.”

This latest study by Duke University found those who had pulled an all-nighter were more likely to take risk gambles with money. Brain scans showed that brain activity increased in the brain’s reward centers while activity declined in the area processing negative outcomes.

Until now, researchers thought sleep deprivation mostly hobbled the brain’s ability to pay attention. This is the first time research has shown a lack of sleep impacts a brain’s decision-making process.

“Sleep deprivation appears to create an optimism bias; for example, participants behave as if positive consequences are more likely (or more valuable) and as if negative consequences are less likely (or less harmful),” researchers concluded.

Such optimism can be costly at the gaming tables. But it can be deadly on the road.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

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