A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. The study shows drivers who get less than 5 hours of sleep a night are more than four times more likely to get into an auto accident than a fully rested driver. Drivers who sleep just 5-6 hours daily double their risk for a crash. Since The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 35% of drivers sleep less than the recommended 7 hours a day, we thought it would be helpful to share some surprising statistics from the AAA study.
The AAA Foundation report found that in a 24-hour period, crash risk for sleep-deprived drivers increased steadily when compared to drivers who slept the recommended seven hours or more:
- Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times the crash risk
- Five to six hours of sleep: 1.9 times the crash risk
- Four to five hours of sleep: 4.3 times the crash risk
- Less than four hours of sleep: 11.5 times the crash risk
Symptoms of drowsy driving can include having trouble keeping eyes open, drifting from lanes or not remembering the last few miles driven. However, more than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel. AAA urges drivers to not rely on their bodies to provide warning signs of fatigue and should instead prioritize getting plenty of sleep (at least seven hours) in their daily schedules. For longer trips, drivers should also:
- Travel at times when normally awake
- Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
- Avoid heavy foods
- Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment
This AAA study emphasizes the importance of getting the proper amount of sleep. For more information on this study, visit the AAA website by clicking here. As always, we wish you safe travels on the road. If you find yourself injured in an auto accident, we’re here for you 24/7. Simply call or text us at 757-622-5000. We’ll be here for you.