home
RSS
Driving drowsy as dangerous as driving drunk, studies show
November 9th, 2011
07:31 AM ET

Driving drowsy as dangerous as driving drunk, studies show

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs regularly on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

We all know the symptoms. Your eyelids droop and your vision becomes blurry. Your head feels so heavy that you can’t hold it up and so your chin keeps falling toward your chest. You can’t stop yawning. Diagnosis is clear to most of us: You’re sleepy.

I know what it feels like and looks like and so do you. So why do many surveys show that most of us have driven while drowsy and many of us do so on a regular basis?

Well, for one thing, we are not a culture that takes sleep seriously. We think that when our lives become so busy that we don’t see how we can fit everything into a 24-hour day, that we can find extra hours by carving it out of our sleep time.

Many surveys over the past four to five decades show a steady decline in the number of hours that people are sleeping. You add to that an increase in shift work and an increase in sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, which is increasing in parallel with the rising weight of the average American, and you have one sleep-deprived nation, one whose citizens drive on a daily basis.

This week is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, and numerous organizations such as the National Sleep Foundation and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety are trying to get this topic before the American people.

A recent poll conducted by the AAA Foundation echoed the results of numerous National Sleep Foundation Polls, namely that a large percentage of Americans report driving under the influence of sleep.

In this latest poll, one-third of those surveyed admitted to driving drowsy in the past 30 days. A 2005 NSF poll of approximately 1,000 people found that 60% of drivers, or about 168 million people, admitted that they had driven while sleepy in the preceding year; and 37% confessed that they had actually fallen asleep behind the wheel.

Educating people to the dangers of drowsy driving is a key step in prevention. For example, did you know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 crashes that are reported to the police each year are the direct result of fatigue and sleepiness? And that is a conservative estimate because it is hard to pin down how many crashes are due to drowsiness.

Drowsy driving is hard to quantify for a number of reasons. One, because there is no standard test to determine driver fatigue as there is with drunken driving. Two, fatigue-related crashes usually occur when someone is driving alone. Three, a grisly feature of crashes associated with sleepiness is that they are often fatal.

Investigators have figured out that a crash due to fatigue often shows no skid marks or signs that the driver tried to correct the course of the vehicle as they see with crashes due to intoxication.

Speaking of intoxication, numerous studies have shown that sleepiness can impair driving skill s as much as being drunk. In fact, being awake for 20 hours straight makes the average driver perform as poorly as someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, now the legal limit in all states.

We suspect that sleepiness combined with drunkenness is a particularly deadly combination. No surprise, those most likely to drive while drowsy are young people, age 18-29, especially men, and this is the age group involved in the greatest number of traffic accidents. Other groups of people who report driving drowsy are shift workers, commercial drivers and adults with children in the household.

Tips to avoid driving drowsy:

1. Recognize that sleep is an essential component of health and try to get the seven to eight hours each night that most people need.

2. Get treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy.

3. Avoid driving between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. when the urge to sleep is the strongest. Also be aware of the afternoon slump. Crashes due to fatigue also often occur between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. during the circadian dip in alertness.

4. Although caffeine is no substitute for a good night’s sleep, it can help alertness. So if you don’t suffer from insomnia or have a medical condition that is aggravated by caffeine, then by all means reach for a strong cup of joe when you must drive and you know that you are not your most alert.

5. Pull over. If you are having the symptoms of sleepiness, do not assume you can control the urge. Many have done so with deadly consequences for themselves and fellow travelers. Find a safe place and try to take a 10-20 minute nap. Studies have shown that shorter naps result in greater alertness and better performance.

6. Avoid driving alone for great distances especially in the middle of the night.

7. Take a break every two hours if you are driving long distances as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation

8. Parents, please, talk to your children, and especially your teens who have started driving, about the dangers of driving while drowsy.

Ninety-six percent of those polled by the AAA Foundation feel that it is “unacceptable” for people to drive while they have trouble keeping their eyes open. Yet, only one state makes it illegal to drive while knowingly fatigued. “Maggie’s Law “ was enacted in New Jersey after the 1997 death of Maggie McDonnell, a college student killed when a driver, who admitted to being awake for 30 straight hours, crashed into her car.

Drowsy driving is deadly and it is about time we take it seriously.

Post by:
Filed under: Sleep

soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Barry House Clearance

    Some really good blog posts on this web site, regards for contribution. "The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it." by Arnold Glasgow.

    http://www.dumpawaste.co.uk

    February 9, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ikea induccion sarten

    I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for. You've ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

    https://todosartenes.com/sartenes-ikea

    February 11, 2021 at 04:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Profitable-Digital-Marketing Strategy-and-Plan

    High DA PA 50+ Do follow Forum Backlinks: https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/836800/High-DA-PA-50-Do-follow-Forum-Backlinks

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks

    February 16, 2021 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. SocialMedia Services2021

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/services

    https://bit.ly/3iVO2Vh

    February 19, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. network installation

    As soon as I noticed this internet site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

    https://cds-consultants.com

    February 21, 2021 at 05:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. pc repair

    Hiya, I'm really glad I have found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossips and net and this is really irritating. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for keeping this site, I'll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

    https://cds-consultants.com

    February 21, 2021 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. frolep rotrem

    I like this blog its a master peace ! Glad I detected this on google .

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 27, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ClarkTauts

    ht8x2 k4dsm zzs3

    March 2, 2021 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jeramy Bias

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    March 24, 2021 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Lavette Haymes

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really know what you're talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my website =). We could have a link exchange arrangement between us!

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    March 25, 2021 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Joie Slaight

    What i do not understood is if truth be told how you're no longer actually a lot more neatly-appreciated than you might be now. You are so intelligent. You already know therefore significantly with regards to this matter, made me individually consider it from so many varied angles. Its like women and men are not fascinated except it is something to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs outstanding. All the time deal with it up!

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    March 25, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. buying canadian cialis

    canadian pharmacy generic cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ do you need prescription for canadian prescription of cialis in usa

    April 13, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. tadalafil online

    generic tadalafil https://elitadalafill.com/ generic tadalafil 40 mg

    April 13, 2021 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. canadian diet pills

    average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian? https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pharmacies ed pills

    April 13, 2021 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. viagra canada over the counter

    buy viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ best viagra pills 25 mg canada pharmacy

    April 17, 2021 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Выживший смотреть онлайн

    Выживший смотреть онлайн смотреть онлайн

    April 19, 2021 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. vardenafil hcl generic

    vardenafil vs viagra vs cialis https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil vs tadalafil which is better?

    April 20, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. zithromax online

    zithromax 500 mg tablets https://zithromaxes.com/ zithromax tablets

    April 22, 2021 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. alprostadil prices in canada

    alprostadil gel online https://alprostadildrugs.com/ erection injection medication

    April 23, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. cialis, sale, canadian pharm.

    cialis viagra combination canadian pharmacy https://canadacialisstore.com/ do you need prescription for canadian prescription of cialis in usa

    April 26, 2021 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. canadian generic pills

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian diet pills

    April 26, 2021 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. cheapest sildenafil australia

    sildenafil generic for sale https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ buy sildenafil citrate 100mg

    April 29, 2021 at 05:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. ordering viagra from canada

    new viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ canada cheap viagra

    April 29, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. dapoxetine

    priligy 30 buy avanafil uk

    May 5, 2021 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. chloroquin

    chloroquine antimalarial https://chloroquineorigin.com/ cloroquin

    May 7, 2021 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. storno brzinol

    What i do not understood is actually how you are no longer actually a lot more neatly-appreciated than you might be now. You're so intelligent. You know thus significantly in the case of this subject, made me personally consider it from so many numerous angles. Its like women and men are not interested until it?¦s something to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs nice. At all times care for it up!

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. stornobrzinol

    Thanks for helping out, fantastic info .

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 16, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. storno brzinol

    Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 17, 2021 at 02:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. tausAffessy

    side effects for tadalafil canada generic tadalafil tadalafil drug tadalafil goodrx https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ – where to buy generic cialis online safely

    May 23, 2021 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Tritreviewifind

    cialis without a prescription https://tadagatadalafil.com/ generic cialis online fast shipping cost of cialis tadalafil daily online

    May 24, 2021 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. cyclosporine

    buy cyclomune cyclosporine ophthalmic

    May 24, 2021 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. tausAffessy

    generic cialis online fast shipping tadalafil online with out prescription cheapest tadalafil cost cialis at canadian pharmacy https://tadalafilww.com/ – generic tadalafil from uk

    May 25, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Unitmerienepeft

    https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ where to buy tadalafil on line https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ – lowest price cialis cheap cialis pills for sale

    May 25, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil online https://cttadalafil.com/ tadalafil online where to buy generic cialis online safely tadalafil goodrx

    May 26, 2021 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. brimonidine

    combigan side effects combigan side effects

    May 27, 2021 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Tritreviewifind

    cheapest tadalafil cost cheapest tadalafil cost tadalafil liquid cost tadalafil generic https://tadalafilol.com/ – prescription tadalafil online

    May 27, 2021 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. hidroxicloroquina

    chloroquinine plaquemine choloquine

    June 4, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. cialis pills

    purchase peptides tadalafil buy cialis online tadalafil brands

    June 5, 2021 at 04:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. get more info

    I really appreciate this post. I¡¦ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thank you again

    http://ralphmitchell.mee.nu/step_on_guide_how_to_art_wood_furniture

    June 11, 2021 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. www.pharmaceptica.com

    price sildenafil generic https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Leave a Reply to cyclosporine


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.