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Risky Business: Driving on Little Sleep as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Driving while drowsyWhen most adults think of dangerous driving behavior, they think of operating a vehicle while intoxicated or driving too fast. While drunk driving and speeding are risky behaviors that could result in a serious accident, they are not the only things that drivers should avoid. A new study published by AAA Foundation suggests that a driver operating on too little rest can be as dangerous as a drunk driver.

If you are injured in an accident caused by a fatigued driver, the legal team at Andrade Law Offices can assist you in seeking full compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.

AAA’s Study – What You Need to Know About Drowsy Driving

Maintaining a healthy balance of work, family responsibilities and sleep can be a challenge. If you don’t think that getting behind the wheel while sleepy is as dangerous as driving while impaired, consider these statistics in the AAA report:

  • Getting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night and driving doubles the risk of being involved in a car crash;
  • Missing two to three hours of sleep results in a quadrupled risk of a car accident;
  • Drivers who have slept for less than five hours show behaviors comparable to those people who drive while intoxicated;
  • Drowsy driving is a factor in one of every five fatal crashes in the United States annually; and
  • Drivers who sleep four hours or less have 11.5 times the risk of a crash.

Putting an End to Santa Barbara Drowsy Driving

Driving while fatigued does not receive the stigma that driving while drunk does, but perhaps it should. If more people were aware of the real dangers of drowsy driving, perhaps they would be more careful about not getting behind the wheel with too little sleep.

If you have difficulty sometimes keeping your eyes open while driving or drifting out the lane, you may be experiencing symptoms of falling asleep at the wheel. Here are some tips that you can use to help you avoid the problem of driving while fatigued:

  • Take a break – If you are driving and feel tired, take a break every two hours and don’t be afraid to pull over in a safe location for a short nap.
  • Travel with a passenger – Traveling with a passenger who can help to keep you awake, or with whom you can share the driving responsibilities, can help to prevent a fatigued driving-related accident.
  • Don’t take substances that could contribute to drowsiness – Many prescription and over-the-counter medications such as allergy and sinus medications have side effects that can make you drowsy. If you will be driving, avoid these medications. If you will be taking these medications, avoid driving.

The easiest solution to combating the problem of drowsy driving is simply never to drive after you have gotten less than a normal amount of sleep. Try to get an hour or two more of rest before running errands or traveling by vehicle.