If you are planning on a road trip over the holidays, make sure you get plenty of sleep first. A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that drowsy driving can be as risky as drunk driving. Missing just a few hours of sleep increases your risk of a motor vehicle accident significantly.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research suggests that crash rates are higher among those who do not get adequate sleep. In fact drivers who sleep only five to six hours in a 24-hour period are over twice as likely to have a car accident as drivers who get seven hours of sleep or more.
As many as 20 percent of fatal traffic accidents are attributed to drowsy driving and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just last year, over 35,000 people died in car accidents pointing to drowsy driving as the cause in nearly 7,000 crashes.
When traveling, experts recommend that you pull over for a nap if you are feeling drowsy. It is possible to catch up on missed sleep by adding a few hours of sleep during another part of the day with the goal of getting a solid 7 hours in a 24-hour stretch.
“You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel”, claims the director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Failing to maintain a healthy sleep schedule can put you and others on the road at risk”.
Source: The Telegraph, “Driving after less than five hours sleep is as dangerous as being drunk behind wheel”, by Sarah Knapton, December 6, 2016.