A growing topic of study and concern is “drowsy driving”. Studies have shown that getting less than 4 hours of sleep a night causes impairment at about the same level as being legally drunk. While drunk driving has consistently been targeted as a socially unacceptable thing to do, drowsy driving is only just starting to be recognized as just as dangerous.
Drowsy driving is a concern or all drivers, but those most at risk are people who drive for a living, such as truck drivers. Many professional drivers spend long hours on the road, and when they do stop for rest they often don’t get the good, quality rest that is required.
What the Statistics Say About Sleep Deprivation
The AAA Foundation for Safety has found that 21% of all fatal crashes in 2015 were a result of driving with sleep deprivation.
When compared to drivers who had 7 hours of sleep, the study found that the crash and accident risk went up significantly the less you sleep you had.
Drivers who slept 5-6 hours were twice as likely to be in an accident
Drivers who slept 4-5 hours were 4 times more at risk of an accident
Drivers who slept less than 4 hours had more than 11.5 times the crash risk than those who slept 7 hours
The study also found that drivers who sleep one or more hours less than usual are at a significantly elevated crash risk. And if a driver sleeps 2-3 hours less than usual they are 3 times more at risk of a crash.
Signs of Sleep Deprivation
If you are driving a long distance, or if you didn’t get enough sleep before hitting the road, be on the lookout for signs of sleep deprivation. Symptoms include:
Slower reaction time
Decreased response accuracy
Inability to focus
If you are showing signs of sleep deprivation, pull over and find somewhere to take a rest. The dangers of drowsy driving shouldn’t be taken lightly. No matter what size vehicle you are driving, it can cause serious injuries. Car accidents can happen in an instant and change lives forever.