There are hundreds of reasons car accidents happen, but one of the leading causes is shocking. It’s sleep deprivation.
According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Sleep Deprivation, not getting at least 7 hours of sleep can raise your car crash risk significantly.
Driving drowsy has the same impact on you as being impaired by alcohol. Sleepy drivers are less attentive and have a slower reaction time than well-rested drivers. Sleep-deprived drivers can create more traffic and unsafe driving conditions which can lead to potential car accidents.
People who are at the greatest risk of drowsy driving:
- People who had less than 7 hours of sleep
- Shift workers
- Commercial drivers (buses, tow trucks, tractor-trailers)
- People who suffer from sleep disorders (ex. sleep apnea, narcolepsy)
Signs that you may be experiencing sleep deprivation:
- Having trouble keeping your eyes open
- Missing exits and turns
- Drifting in between lanes without signaling
- Forgetting recent details of the drive
- Heavy eyelids
- Trouble focusing on the road
To avoid drowsy driving, get at least seven (7) hours of sleep each night. If you are sleep-deprived and driving, pull over to a safe area to rest. Drinking caffeine, turning up the radio volume music, and opening the window for fresh air are short-term solutions. Letting your body recharge with sleep before you hit the road makes for a safer outcome for you and other drivers.