Those Who Are Sleep Deprived are More Likely to be Involved in Car AccidentsMarch 13, 2019
As demands on our time increase, the hours available to sleep decrease, which puts us at risk for serious and sometimes fatal car accidents.
According to a new study posted in Science Daily, people who sleep less than seven hours in any 24-hour period are three times more likely to cause a car accident. Those who drive with four hours or less of sleep are 15 times more likely to cause a serious or fatal car accident. Drowsy driving is comparable to driving drunk because driver reaction times, judgment, and focus are similarly diminished.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 72,000 car accidents resulting in 44,000 injuries and 800 fatalities caused by sleep deprived drivers in just one year. One in 25 drivers aged 18 and older have admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel in the past month. Drivers that slept less than six hours each night had the highest risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Are you at Risk for Drowsy Driving?
Many people do not realize they are at risk for drowsy driving. Many who suffer with sleep apnea get used to feeling tired and ignore the effects the condition has on their behavior. Shift workers and commercial truck drivers are another high-risk group, due to irregular work hours and sleep patterns.
People who take certain medications, both prescribed and over the counter, are also at risk for drowsy driving. Insomniacs and parents of very young children also commonly suffer from sleep deprivation that can have catastrophic results on the road.
Teenage drivers and elderly drivers are another high-risk group, as sleeping patterns and sleep demands change with age.
Warning Signs and Prevention of Drowsy Driving
The risks of drowsy driving are becoming more evident, but many drivers do not actually consider themselves a danger on the road. While many of us are used to feeling tired, we deny the risks associated with sleep deprivation.
Knowing how to recognize the symptoms of drowsy driving can prevent a large majority of serious and fatal car accidents:
- Frequent yawning and blinking are signs of fatigue.
- Missing exits and getting lost on familiar roads can result from sleep deprivation.
- Lane drifting and erratic driving can accompany sleep deprivation.
- Failure to yield to traffic lights and signals can result from poor concentration.
- Black out driving where a person forgets driving the past few miles is common among those suffering from sleep deprivation.
If you are driving and experience these symptoms, pull over and rest, or switch drivers in the car, if possible. Avoid drinking coffee or opening the window to wake up, as these are not useful for making a person feel more awake.
Ignoring the warning signs of sleep deprivation puts your safety and the lives of all those on the road in danger.
Media Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Help Victims of Car Accidents Claim Compensation
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a car accident, the Media car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 610-892-4940 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Media, Pennsylvania and serves clients in West Chester, Delaware County, and throughout the state.