According to the federal administration, drowsy driving contributes to as many as 33% of all traffic accident fatalities in the United States. In spite of this fact, there is very little research into the causes of such accidents and strategies to prevent such risks. A new study conducted recently finds that light sleepers who sleep for less than six hours a night on an average, are at a much higher risk of being drowsy at the wheel.
The risk of accidents for such light sleepers is higher even if they are feeling completely rested, and are not feeling fatigued. Sleeping for less than six hours a night on an average is fairly common in this country, especially since the recession when people started working more hours, putting in overtime, and working double shifts.
The fact that people who have less than six hours of sleep may be at a much higher risk of accidents even if they’re not feeling any typical symptoms of drowsiness is definitely very worrying. This means that a person may not realize that he’s too tired or fatigued to drive.
The study also found that extreme short sleepers, or those who slept less than five hours a night, were at an even higher risk of being involved in an accident. The risk was nearly 4 times as high for this category of sleepers.
Avoiding driving when you’re in a fatigued state is the most effective way to help reduce the risks of such accidents. Take a brief nap to catch up on sleep before a long journey, and stock up on caffeine to help keep drowsiness away. Caffeine is just a short-term fix, and may not help keep sleep away for long periods of time.
Doug Horn is a Kansas City car accident lawyer, dedicated to the representation of victims of car accidents across Missouri. In addition to his practice, Horn devotes a significant part of his time to driving safety advancement. In 2011, he founded Drive By Example, a non-profit organization dedicated to dangerous driving prevention.