The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is warning that drowsy driving is comparable to drunk driving when it comes to the risk of a car accident. A study of sleep habits and driving showed that for every hour under the recommended seven hours of sleep per night, the risk of a crash rises. Drivers who had slept only five to six hours in a 24-hour period had a crash risk twice as high drivers who had slept for seven hours. Those who slept four to five hours had a risk 4.5 times as high, and those that slept fewer than four hours put the crash risk at 11.5 times the normal rate.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey gathered the data used in the study. The AAA looked at police-reported crashes wherein at least one vehicle had to be towed away from the scene or emergency medical services had to be called. The drivers involved in the car accidents were surveyed about how much they had slept in the 24-hour period before the crash. The AAA has also found that one in three people admitted to having a hard time keeping their eyes open at least once in the past month.
One in five fatal car accidents is caused by someone who did not sleep enough the night prior. The groups at highest risk are older adults, teenagers, and people with sleep debt. We are regularly warned about the dangers of drinking and driving, driving too fast, distracted driving, and other safety hazards like weather conditions. Rarely does anybody bring up the danger of sleep deprived people getting behind the wheel. The AAA feels that the public is hardly conscious of the risk involved when driving without a good night’s sleep and that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue.
A Sleep Deprived Nation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than one in three Americans do not get enough regular sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between seven and nine hours every night. Besides affecting driving, sleep deprivation is also linked to other health issues like depression and weight gain.
Tips to Prevent Drowsy Driving
- Catching up – if you do not get the recommended seven hours in one night you can take a nap. For instance if you only slept for five hours, take a two hour nap later in the day – the seven hour recommendation is for a 24-hour period.
- If you must drive with a sleep deficit, then stop periodically to take mini naps. Pull over during a long drive to take breaks and sleep 10-20 minutes.
- Passengers can help the driver stay alert and take a turn driving when they notice the driver needs a break.
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Those Injured by Drowsy Drivers
If you have been injured in a car accident, the Chester County car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will help you determine how to claim the maximum compensation available to you. Call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online. We have offices in Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania we serve clients in Delaware County and Chester County.