We all know about the dangers of drunk driving, but safety experts seem to have a harder time convincing the public that drowsy driving can also cause a car crash. For years, experts have stressed that Americans need to be more careful about getting behind the wheel while tired.
A recent study shows that things might actually be worse than previously thought. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that even small amounts of sleep deprivation may put you in danger. The study shows that if you get 5 or 6 hours of sleep, you are twice as likely to get in a car accident than if you get 7 hours or more. That’s an astounding change for a difference as small as one hour. Things get even scarier for drivers who get less sleep. If a driver has had 4 or less hours of sleep, they are four times more likely to be in an accident. That is roughly equivalent to the rate we see with drunk drivers.
How Can We Stop Drowsy Driving?
Experts have a large range of different solutions. Of course, the best answer is to make sleep a higher priority. Our culture tends to focus on work. Many busy people try to save time by cutting back on sleep. If you make it a priority, you might be surprised how much time you can find for rest. After all, there are countless benefits to a good night’s sleep besides just safer driving. It’s a worthwhile investment.
Additionally, the study shows that the sleep does not have to happen all at once. It only has to happen within a 24-hour period, so another solution could be to take a short nap to make up for lost sleep.
Experts also recommend that drivers take regular breaks on long drives to prevent drowsy driving. Taking a stop on the road will decrease the possibility of an accident, and sharing driving responsibilities will decrease the chances that one driver will drive without proper rest.
However you choose go about it, it’s time to end the way we view drowsy driving. It is a danger to you, your family or others on the road. It’s time for us to take this danger seriously.