Did you know that in a recent traffic safety study that focused on the dangers of drowsy driving, more than one in 25 American drivers admitted to falling asleep while behind the wheel?
Drowsy driving is an overlooked, yet major safety crisis that is a contributing factor in a significant percentage of car accidents each day across the United States. To compound on this issue, AAA recently conducted a study which found that 1 in 4 drivers on the road admitted to being so tired while driving that they had trouble keeping their eyes open.
Weekends give people time to sleep in – in most situations, anyway – but sometimes do you feel like you still don’t get enough rest? Chances are you are among the many motorists that AAA says drive drowsy, the risks of which can be compared to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How Drowsy Driving Impacts Traffic Safety
Lack of sleep causes thousands of severe car crashes. Our country is very focused on work and play with little to no rest. Adults ideally need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors especially your age. Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults. As you get older, your sleeping patterns might change. Older adults tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter time spans than do younger adults.
If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases. Although some people claim to feel rested on just a few hours of sleep a night, research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don’t perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night.
Our bodies give us plenty of signals when we’re tired. But some of us are so used to being sleep deprived that we remain oblivious to how impaired we really are. Sleep debt isn’t something you can pay off in a weekend; researchers say it can take weeks to building up restorative sleep habits.
How to Avoid Driving Drowsy
Experts say if a person goes 24 hours without sleep that they are as impaired as driving under the influence of alcohol. As we know driving while under the influence or fatigued are both extremely dangerous to drivers on the road and should be avoided. It slows reaction time, causes lapses, impairs vision and can impair your judgment.
If you are unable to remember the last couple miles you drove, chances are your thoughts are wondering and your mind is not focused on the road. Please be safe while driving and take naps when needed, do not deprived yourself of the rest your body needs to function.