It Only Takes 1 Hour Less Sleep To Double Drivers’ Crash Risk

Missing just one to two hours of the recommended seven hours sleep at night will double your chances of a car crash next day. Drivers who sleep less than 5 hours daily are at 4 times the crash risk. For those who get less than 4 hours of sleep, their chances of a car crash will increase to 11 times, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety warned.

The AAA Foundation reported the outline of sleep-deprived drivers’ crash risk that 6-7 hours of sleep increases risk by 1.3, 5-6 hours of sleep by 1.9, 4-5 hours of sleep by 4.3, and less than 4 hours of sleep by 11.5.

drivers’ crash risk
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35% of American drivers sleep less than 7 hours in a 24-hour period. It is estimated that in 2013 drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 800 deaths, and 44,000 injuries. Drowsy driving happens due to fatigue, poor sleep, shift work, medications and drinking alcohol, which puts people’s lives in danger and causes tragic results.

Poor sleep lowers attention behind the wheel and so reduces ability to make correct and timely decisions on the roads.

Poor sleep attention
You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel. The risk of accidents due to less than 5 hours sleep is similar to driving over the legal limit for alcohol. Warning signs of drowsy driving include eyes feel heavy, repetitive blinking or yawning, feeling  irritable, trouble seeing, drifting across lane, problem recalling last few miles driven, micro-sleep (sleep which may last for a fraction of time), and missing exits or traffic signs.

Nevertheless, over 50% of drivers involved in sleep related accidents experienced no symptoms before dropping off behind the wheel.

sleep related accidents
The AAA Foundation warn drivers to have plenty of sleep, especially before long road trips. You should have a break every 100 miles or 2 hours of driving, don’t travel at night, don’t eat heavy foods as they make you feel sluggish, don’t take medicines that cause drowsiness, and share your driving with an alert passenger.

Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult and far too often we sacrifice our sleep as a result. Failing to maintain a healthy sleep schedule could mean putting yourself or others on the road at risk. Share this post with your friends and let us know what you think in the comment below:

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