Drowsy Driving | Part 1: Sleep Deprivation and Falling Asleep at the Wheel
Sleep deprivation is a public health epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People who don’t get enough sleep at night are more likely to fall asleep unexpectedly during the day – sometimes in situations that can be life threatening.
4.2 percent of 150,000 adults in a recent survey said they had fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in the last month in a CDC survey. People who snored or slept less than six hours each night were more likely to fall asleep while driving. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about 100,000 police-reported crashes are due to drowsy driving every year.
Who Falls Asleep At the Wheel?
Adults between 18 and 29 years of age are more likely to drive drowsy than any other age group – at least 71 percent have done it, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s drowsy driving fact sheet. Men are more likely to drive drowsy – 56 percent of men admit to it as compared to 45 percent of women – and are nearly twice as likely to actually fall asleep while driving as women. Shift workers are more likely than people who work regular daytime hours to drive drowsy at least a few days per month, and are also more likely to fall asleep at the wheel than daytime workers.
People who sleep six or seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a sleep-related crash than those who sleep eight or more hours. People who sleep less than five hours each night increase that risk to four or five times the baseline. The less you sleep, the greater your sleep deprivation. The greater your sleep deprivation, the more likely you are to fall asleep behind the wheel.
Have you ever driven when you knew you were too sleepy to drive?
Stay tuned… next time we’ll cover other dangerous consequences of drowsy driving, then ways you can avoid drowsy driving and stay safe.
Author Bio: +Michelle Gordon is a sleep expert who researches and writes about sleep and health, and is an online publisher for the latex mattress specialist Latexmattress.org.