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December 1, 2017 • Sleep Disorders Center
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tired drivers are responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013. Drowsy driving is dangerous and it’s important to recognize when you are tired on the road.
Some signs that you may be too tired to drive include:
Drowsy driving is often caused by a lack of sleep, but other factors can affect your ability to drive alert. These include untreated sleep disorders, medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), and alcohol or drug consumption. You are also at risk if you are a business traveler, commercial driver or shift worker.
Though many people feel they can combat sleepiness on the road by listening to loud music, opening windows or snacking, these methods aren’t always effective. If you think you may be too tired to drive, consider getting a ride from another person, taking public transportation, pulling over to a safe place and taking a nap, or driving with someone else.
The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to make sure that you are getting enough sleep at night (7-8 hours). Also avoid driving during the hours of 12 am-6 am when your body is most tired. If you find that you are still tired after getting the right amount of sleep, you may have a sleep disorder. Disorders that might cause you to be tired during the day include obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy and insomnia. If you feel like you may have a sleep disorder or are having trouble sleeping, you should talk to your health care provider about it.
AUTHOR: Jennifer Despain, RPSGT, RST
If you are experiencing symptoms that relate to a disorder, such as daytime sleepiness or irregular sleep patterns, our center can help you explore a variety of options.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.