If you thought you are getting enough sleep, think again. A new study says that getting anywhere under seven hours of sleep each night could double your chance of a car crash. According to an ABC news report, new findings from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety warns that drivers getting under seven hours of sleep could face deadly consequences by doubling their risk of crashing.
The research also shows that if you get less than five hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, you quadruple your risk of a car crash. Less than four hours means you’ll be 11 times more likely to be involved in a car accident. For this study, Researchers studied police-reported car accidents, but did not take alcohol or drug use into account. Previous studies have shown driving drowsy is similar to driving while under the influence.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
According to officials, more than one in five fatal crashes on the nation’s roadways are caused by drowsy or sleepy drivers. Government health officials say more than a third of drivers out on our roadways are tired enough to contribute to a crash. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours daily thereby increasing their risk of getting involved in an auto accident.
Government agencies around the country have observed that drowsy driving is particularly a problem during the holiday season when people tend to take long road trips to visit family. Studies show that driving while fatigued decreases one’s attention span, lowers alertness and even impairs judgment – almost like when one is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Preventing Drowsy Driving
There are several steps you can take to avoid drowsy driving – whether it’s during the holidays or any other time of the year. Here are a few tips:
- Going to bed at a consistent time, turning off TV and other screens an hour before bed and limiting caffeinated drinks late in the day can help you get the recommended seven hours of sleep.
- When you drive long distance, plan stops every two hours or about 100 miles just to get out of the car, walk around and freshen up.
- Travel only at times when you are normally awake.
- Avoid heavy foods or alcohol, which can make you drowsy.
- Avoid medications (over the counter or prescription) that can make you drowsy.
- Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving.
Remember, drowsy driving is negligent driving. If you have been injured by a drowsy or fatigued driver, please contact an experienced California car accident lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.