According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers who do not get the full the recommended seven hours of sleep are more likely to be involved in a car accident. With only 35 percent of American drivers getting the recommended amount of sleep, according to the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, these new study results are cause for concern. AAA warns that one out of five fatal U.S crashes involves drowsy driving.
According to the study, drivers who miss two to three hours of sleep more than quadruple their crash risk, which is equivalent to driving under the influence of alcohol. The risk of an accident steadily increases as the number of missed hours increases:
- Missing one hour – 1.3 times the risk
- Missing one to two hours – 1.9 times the risk
- Missing two to three hours – 4.3 times the risk
- Missing more than three hours – 11.5 times the risk
Although 97 percent of drivers stated that drowsy driving is a serious threat to their safety, almost one third of drivers admitted to struggling to keep their eyes open while driving at least once in the previous month.
How to Avoid Drowsy Driving
Signs that a driver may be too tired to drive can include:
- Difficulty keeping eyes open while driving
- Drifting from your lane
- Not remembering previous miles driven
However, AAA notes that a majority of drivers involved in drowsy driving accidents do not experience any symptoms of being too tired to drive. For this reason, the association advises drivers to get the recommended amount of sleep before driving and:
- Only traveling at times you would normally be awake
- Scheduling frequent breaks throughout a long trip
- Avoiding heavy foods that could make you tired
- Traveling with and taking turns driving with a passenger
- Avoiding medications that cause drowsiness
The Silver Spring car accident lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan have experience handling all types of car accidents and can help you if you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident caused by a drowsy driver. Do not hesitate to contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.