Drowsy Driving Question and Answers
If you drive while being drowsy, this is an alarming situation and can cause a serious accident. visit Koala Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders about TMJ and talk to our team of healthcare professionals today. For more information call us at one of our clinics today or request an appointment online. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington, IL, Peoria – Dunlap, IL, Lafayette, IN, Mishawaka, IN, Columbia, MO, Kansas City, MO, El Paso, TX, and Wausau, WI.
Sleep is important for so many reasons because it affects every aspect of our health. In fact, many diseases, injuries and medical conditions can be ameliorated with consistent, good-quality sleep, because it works to repair our bodies and restore our energy levels. It also contributes to proper mental function, including cognition, alertness, concentration, and productivity. If a person does not get enough sleep, they can become drowsy throughout the day, even while they are driving. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, and contributes to tens of thousands of accidents every year.
What is a drowsy driver?
A drowsy driver is someone who drives while fatigued or excessively sleepy. A staggering 50 percent of drivers in the US admit to regularly driving while feeling drowsy. Approximately 20 percent of drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year, with 4 percent falling asleep at the wheel within the last month. Over 40 percent have admitted to this happening at least once in their driving careers, which should be treated as a serious public health concern.
How do I stop being drowsy while driving?
Tips to feel more awake and aware when driving include:
- Never drink and drive
- If possible, do not drive long distances alone
- Get enough quality sleep each night
- Do not begin a trip late into the night where you would be driving when you usually sleep
- Be aware of your posture
- Take a break every 2 hours
- If you can have caffeine, drink one or two cups of a caffeinated beverage, like coffee or black tea
What are the causes of drowsy driving?
Many causes can contribute to drowsy driving, including:
- Sleep Deprivation — Adults who do not get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night are at higher risk of daytime drowsiness, which can occur while driving.
- Sleep Disorders — If a sleep disorder is undiagnosed and left untreated, it can cause daytime drowsiness, which can negatively affect the ability to drive.
- Alcohol — Consuming alcohol does not only promote sleepiness, it also impedes reaction time and decision-making.
- Medications — A wide number of medications cause sleepiness, even if sleepiness is just a side-effect.
- Time of Day — Auto accidents from drowsy driving occur most frequently in the mid-afternoon, and also between the hours of midnight and six a.m., which are two times when sleepiness peaks.
What are the dangers of drowsy driving?
Every year, drowsy driving is responsible for over 91,000 car crashes, 50,000 injuries, and 800 deaths. While alcohol impairment is relatively simple to determine using blood alcohol measurements, sleep deprivation is tougher to resolve. As many people are reluctant to admit they were driving while drowsy, experts believe that drowsy driving accidents are often inaccurately attributed to other factors. Based on careful analysis, researchers believe the real number of annual fatalities caused by drowsy driving may be closer to 6,000, which would implicate drowsiness in approximately 21 percent of fatal crashes every year.
If you are experiencing daytime drowsiness and often feel tired while driving, come to Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating daytime sleepiness, so you can be alert and aware when you are driving! Call one of our convenient locations to start improving your quality of sleep today! We have locations in: Bloomington & Peoria-Dunlap, IL; Mishawaka & Lafayette, IN; Columbia & Kansas City, MO; Wausau, WI; and El Paso, TX. All of our clinics are open from Monday to Thursday, with several of them also open on Friday or Saturday. A better quality of sleep is only a phone call away! We look forward to serving you!