Is Drowsy Driving Worth the Risk?
You drive to work early in the morning, drive home late at night or both. You burn the candle at both ends, and your driving suffers because of it. Not enough people understand the effects of sleep deprivation. Aside from the physical effects it has on your body, sleep deprivation causes 100,000 car accidents each year. Driving drowsy is just as dangerous as texting and driving or drunk driving.
- 34% of people admit to driving after being awake for 17-19 hours.
- Sleep deprivation leads to lack of focus and cognitive impairment.
- Falling asleep is a process. You may think you are awake when you are actually more asleep.
- Sleep-related crashes are the most common among young men ages 18-29, shift workers and parents.
- Men are more likely to drive drowsy than women and are almost twice as likely to fall asleep at the wheel.
- People who sleep 6-7 hours per day are twice as likely to fall asleep at the wheel compared to those who sleep 8 or more hours.
- Sleeping less than 5 hours increases your chances 4-5 times.
- People driving on long rural highways fall asleep at the wheel most frequently.
- Driving between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. puts you at the greatest risk for drowsy driving.
Pay attention so that you can recognize these warning signs of drowsy driving. If you exhibit these signs, pull over for a nap or let someone else drive.
- Heavy eyelids and frequent blinking
- Missing exits or traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly
- Drooping head
- Drifting from your lane
Because of drowsy driving, in 2014 there were about 886 fatal crashes (2.5% of all fatal crashes), an estimated 37,000 crashes resulting in injury, and an estimated 45,000 accidents that solely damaged property.
As more and more data on drowsy driving comes in, several people have received jail time for causing accidents while sleepy at the wheel. There have also been lawsuits against these individuals, where families of victims have been awarded millions of dollars in settlements.
One final fact: Being awake for 18 consecutive hours is equal to a blood alcohol content of .05, and after 24 hours that raises to .10. To be considered legally drunk, your BAC has to be .08. You wouldn’t drive drunk, so don’t drive drowsy. Keep yourself and those around you safe on the roads.
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