Motor vehicle accidents occur daily on the roads in Oklahoma. Sadly, many of these accidents lead to serious injuries and are actually preventable. Drowsy driving accounts for a surprising number of crashes. It’s important to understand the level of danger that drowsy driving presents to everyone on the road.
How common a problem is drowsy driving?
Drowsy driving is surprisingly common. According to a poll by the Sleep Foundation, around 60 percent of drivers admitted to driving when they felt drowsy. The Centers for Disease Control or CDC also reported that one out of 25 people admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel as well. This is a widespread problem that occurs on a daily basis.
Why is drowsy driving so dangerous?
Many motor vehicle accidents happen as a result of drowsy driving. When people are too tired behind the wheel and start to nod off, it poses significant risks to the driver, their passengers and everyone else on the road. Around 91,000 accidents occurred in 2017 that were due to drivers who were too drowsy to drive.
In a scary statistic, motor vehicle accidents can even happen if a driver is drowsy and doesn’t actually fall asleep behind the wheel. Additionally, drowsy driving attributed to lack of sleep can be compared with driving under the influence.
What can cause drowsy driving?
Drowsy driving can be caused by a few factors, including the following:
- Lack of sleep: This is the main reason behind drowsy driving. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but many don’t get that much, which poses problems. Shift workers are also particularly susceptible to this issue.
- Drinking: Drinking alcohol can cause drivers to feel drowsy and increase the risk of an accident.
- Sleep disorders: Sleep disorders can easily lead drivers to become drowsy.
- Medications: Certain medications cause drowsiness and should be avoided when a person has to drive.
- Time of day: Certain times of day lead to drowsy driving. People tend to be most tired between midnight and 6 in the morning and around 4 in the afternoon.
Recognizing that you are very tired can help prevent the issue of drowsy driving. Getting enough quality sleep each night is also essential to staying alert behind the wheel.