Missing Just One Hour of Sleep Can Make You a Dangerous Driver
Missing out on just an hour or two of sleep may not seem like a lot. However, this can make it quite dangerous for you to get behind the wheel of a car.
“Drowsy Driving” – driving when you have not had an adequate amount of sleep – contributes to more than one in five fatal crashes in the United States, states the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Unfortunately, drowsy driving is likely more common than you realize. Nearly one in three drivers admit that at least once in the past month they drove when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open. Other signs that you are too tired to drive include drifting in and out of your lane and not remembering the last few miles driven.
The AAA Foundation has released a report that has found that drivers who miss out on two to three hours of sleep (out of a recommended seven hours per night) can quadruple their risk of having an accident. Those who got less than four hours of sleep had 11.5 times greater crash risk!
"You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel," said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk."
“Failing to maintain a healthy sleep schedule could mean putting yourself or others on the road at risk," added Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA.
The AAA Foundation adds these tips, especially for those longer commutes:
• Travel at times when normally awake
• Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
• Avoid heavy foods
• Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving
• Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment
AAA. "Missing 1-2 hours of sleep doubles crash risk: Study reveals the dangers of getting less than 7 hours of sleep." ScienceDaily. 6 December 2016
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