A full night’s sleep is vital to safe driving. According to a recent AAA Foundation survey, skipping out on even one or two hours of sleep the night before can make you more likely to have an accident. Sleeping only four to five hours versus seven to eight hours increases your risk of an accident as much as driving with a BAC of .08. You read that right — driving sleepy may be as dangerous as driving drunk.
What else did the AAA report find about drowsy driving?
The AAA Foundation survey evaluated crash risk based on a number of scenarios. The researchers found that compared to drivers who got at least seven hours of sleep within the last 24 hours, drivers who got the following amount of sleep saw elevated crash rates:
- Six to seven hours: 1.3 times the rate
- Five to six hours: 1.9 times the rate
- Four to five hours: 4.3 times the rate
- Less than four hours: 11.5 times the rate
They also found that getting fewer hours of sleep than you are used to can put you at greater risk of an accident. Drivers who got fewer hours of sleep than usual saw the following increases in crash risk:
- One to two fewer hours: 1.3 times the rate
- Two to three fewer hours: 3.0 times the rate
- Three to four fewer hours: 2.1 times the rate
- Four or more fewer hours: 10.2 times the rate
Those who sleep an average of four to five hours per day had 5.4 times the crash rate of those who sleep for at least seven hours each day.
Get Some Sleep!
According to AAA, the best way to avoid losing focus and slowing reaction time due to drowsiness is simply to get enough sleep. Getting at least seven hours of sleep the night before you drive — and more, if your usual habits require more – may help prevent the effects of drowsy driving.
If you are on a longer drive, try to only drive during the hours you are usually awake. Stop to stretch every 100 miles, and stop for the night before your usual bedtime. Other tips include:
- Be especially careful during the late afternoon, when energy levels naturally drop
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that may impair driving
- Travel with another adult who can drive if you need a break
- Plan ahead if you need to stop for the night
What should I do if I suffer injuries in an accident caused by a drowsy driver?
Drowsy drivers contribute to or cause a number of car crashes in the Fort Lauderdale area every year. If you suffered injuries in one of these crashes, Coffey Trial Law can help you get the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related losses. Call us today at 954-541-3194 to learn more.