Sleep deprivation is far more common in the American population than many people realize.Unfortunately, far too many sleep-deprived American adults and teenagers don’t think twice about getting behind the wheel when they’re completely fatigued. According to statistics, 50% of adult drivers say that they have operated a motor vehicle in the past year while completely exhausted.
Many motorists who would never dream of driving after consuming alcoholic beverages fail to recognize the potential for disaster when reflexes slow due to drowsiness.According to one study recently published in the journal Sleep, people who suffer from sleep difficulties or sleep disorders are twice as likely to die in a car accident.One of the more common sleep disorders is insomnia, but people who have trouble falling or staying asleep may also suffer from another disorder called sleep apnea.
In addition to failing to recognize how serious drowsy driving is, many drivers do not understand how to prevent it. According to one recent study, most motorists who want to remain awake roll-down the window, splash water on their faces, or turn music volume up to prevent themselves from falling asleep. According to the study, those tactics are ineffective, and the only method that really works to prevent drowsy driving is taking a nap. It makes sense to pull over somewhere safe, and take a break for at least 30 minutes to feel refreshed. It should be noted that caffeine is a stop gap measure which can help a person remain alert, but its effectiveness tends to be short term.
Drowsy driving is much more common among young motorists. Adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are much more likely to drive while fatigued, with a rate of 71%.Males are also more likely to drive drowsy compared to females. Having children at home and working off-shift jobs also increase the occurrence of drowsy driving. In one study, 59% of adults with children reported drowsy driving, while 36% of persons in off-shift jobs reported driving while fatigued.
Drowsy driving accidents are typically very serious because they often involve high speeds or crossing over a lane marker.This makes it all the more important to take measures to ensure you are well-rested before hitting the road.If you are the parent of a young driver, talk with them about the danger of driving while tired and always offer to pick them up when they don’t feel they can operate a motor vehicle safely.