It is common for people to drive tired; most people think sleep deprivation only becomes a driving issue for commercial drivers. Yet, drowsy driving is gaining national attention because of the risks it presents to drivers, passengers and others sharing the roadways.
Drowsy driving slows reaction time and impairs decision making in the same way drunk driving does. Consider this:
Normal drowsiness experienced after 17 hours of continuous wake time is equivalent to a 0.05% blood alcohol level.
For underage drivers, that’s over the legal limit. For adults who continually get fewer than seven hours of sleep each night and do not take naps—your driving may be impaired by drowsiness every time you get in your car.
You do not have to completely fall asleep at the wheel for tiredness to affect your driving. Signs of drowsy driving include:
Common “remedies” for drowsy driving, like opening windows or turning on/up the stereo are not effective for more than a few moments.
Drowsy driving is not just the consequence of a busy schedule. Drowsy driving may actually be a symptom of a sleep disorder.
If you experience drowsy driving regularly throughout the week, you may have a sleep disorder. Neurology & Sleep Medicine can help you identify underlying causes of daytime sleepiness and get you treatment to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep so that you are more alert at the wheel.
* “Drowsy Driving Warning Signs.” Sleep Education. http://sleepeducation.org/sleep-topics/drowsy-driving