Every year, nearly 72,000 vehicle accidents are caused by drowsy drivers. Further studies have shown that getting less than four hours of sleep increases an individual’s crash rate by 11.5 times. Despite these alarming statistics, many drivers continue to get on the road fatigued enough to impair their driving. However, making an effort to get better sleep and taking action while driving can help lower incidents of drowsy driving.
The average adult needs at least seven to eight hours of sleep to function at peak efficiency. Sleep deprivation takes a serious toll on the mind and body. With each lost hour of sleep, reasoning skills, decision-making abilities, and reactions times are compromised. Without adequate rest, the neurons in the brain responsible for sending and receiving messages begin to slow down.
As the brain slows down, drivers start to show signs of impaired driving like drifting in and out of the traffic lane, missing turns or exits, and short-term memory loss. With memory loss, the driver forgets the last few miles driven and suddenly finds himself further along in the journey than previously thought. The driving impairment due to drowsy driving is comparable to driving while under the influence of alcohol. In this state, drivers cannot safely respond to changing traffic and road conditions.