It is no surprise that driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Between the size and weight of the vehicle and the higher speeds that it goes, accidents and injuries are not difficult to find. Due to these inherent risks, there are many things that drivers are not legally permitted to do, in order to remain safe and protect the safety of others.
Things such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are considered to be illegal, as they may hinder the driver’s ability to properly maneuver the vehicle. But while many are aware of these risks, few give much thought to another dangerous driving practice: drowsy driving.
Problems with Drowsy Driving
The issue with driving without much sleep is that these drivers tend to make serious mistakes and are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel. Per the recent study, those who have achieved fewer than seven hours of sleep within the last 24 hours are more likely to be involved in a car accident when compared to those who received between seven and nine hours. Drivers who had six hours of sleep had a 1.3 times greater chance of causing a crash, while those who had less than four hours had a whopping 15.1 times greater chance of doing the same.
Danger Correlates to Lack of Sleep
According to a new study published in the journal, Sleep, the danger of drowsy driving is dependent upon the amount of sleep that the driver had within the past 24 hours. This is concerning considering that according to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of drivers have driven drowsy, while 37% have even fallen asleep at the wheel.
Adults Report a Lack of Sleep
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% of adults in Kentucky reported that they usually sleep fewer than seven hours within a period of 24 hours. Since it is difficult to determine if driver drowsiness is the cause of an accident (unless the driver admits to being fatigued), the statistics vary greatly dependant upon source. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this cause accounts for about 100,000 crashes per year, and claimed the lives of 795 individuals in 2017, while the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety pegs that number around 328,000.
Avoiding Drowsy Driving
Luckily, there are ways to avoid finding yourself in a car wreck due to drowsy driving. Such precautions include:
- Avoiding any medication that lists drowsiness as a side effect
- Breaking at least every two hours
- Driving with a passenger – to have conversation
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Stopping to rest or switch drivers if you feel sleepy
- Traveling when you are most awake
By taking these precautions, you can help to prevent drowsy driving accidents, protecting both yourself as well as other drivers.
Posted in: Car Accidents