Report Shows Drowsy Driving is a Danger to Motorists
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- Report Shows Drowsy Driving is a Danger to Motorists
December 14, 2016
A report released by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that drivers who sleep less than the recommended seven hours a night greatly increase their risk of being in a car accident.
The findings are a cause for concern as traffic fatalities have been rising in recent years, reaching 35,092 in 2015, a 7.2 percent increase from the previous year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 35 percent of drivers sleep less than the recommended daily amount. With one in five fatal car accidents caused by drowsy driving, this can have deadly consequences.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that sleep-deprived drivers have a higher crash risk when compared to well-rested drivers:
- Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times the crash risk
- Five to six hours of sleep: 1.9 times the crash risk
- Four to five hours of sleep: 4.3 times the crash risk
- Less than four hours of sleep: 11.5 times the crash risk.
Drivers who slept less than four hours the previous night share the same accident risk and driving characteristics as a drunk driver who consumed more than the legal alcohol limit, according to AAA.
Drowsy drivers may drift from lane to lane, inappropriately slow down or speed up, fail to remember parts of their drive, or find it increasingly difficult to keep their eyes open.
A sleep-deprived driver’s reaction time is also slower and may cause them to shift their focus away from the road, diverting their attention from other vehicels and road hazards around them.
However, more than half of drivers in fatigue-related accidents reported that they experienced no signs of drowsy driving before falling asleep behind the wheel.
To reduce the risk of drowsy driving, AAA is asking drivers to follow these steps:
- Travel at times when you are normally awake
- Schedule a break every two hours or 100 miles
- Avoid eating heavy foods
- Travel with a passenger and alternate between driving
- Avoid medications that cause impairment, like drowsiness
AAA is warning drivers not to rely on bodily signs of fatigue and to sleep the recommended amount each night for a safer drive.
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