When you don’t get enough sleep, a new study shows that certain brain cells can actually slow down. This can pose a severe risk of distracted or drowsy driving. The study looked at the neurons in the brains of 12 individuals and found that sleep deprivation causes electrical activity bursts that make the process of brain cells communicating with one another become weaker and slower. A sleepless night can also dramatically increase your chances of a car accident.

The study could help to identify why a lack of sleep can impair many different mental functions. If you are sleep deprived and someone jumps in front of your car in the middle of the night, for example, it may be more difficult for you to react quickly and avoid an accident.

The study came from a recent evaluation of patients who are being evaluated for surgery to correct critical epilepsy problems. The doctors put wires in the brain to find out where the seizures are starting for the patient,s which allows the team of scientists to monitor hundreds of separate brain cells over the course of days.

Patients who have epilepsy are usually kept awake in order to provoke such a seizure but this study took a different approach. The research study managers pointed out that it is important to avoid driving while sleepy because this can reduce your reaction time and cause someone to lose control of the car quickly. If you have already been involved in an accident that you believe was tied to another driver falling asleep at the wheel, you need to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.  A sleepless night can turn into a nightmare if you’re hurt in a crash.