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Tiredness & Driving: An Increasing Danger on the Road

Posted on Aug 9, 2012 11:35am PDT

You have had a really long week. The kids are dealing with the flu and you and your spouse haven’t slept for nights. Not only that, but you don’t have sick days to stay home from work, so you are left working 50 hours a week on top of not sleeping. This is a typical story for many people these days. If it is not children keeping us awake, it is school, or work, or a plethora of other factors that get added to our to-do lists. Many times people don’t realize how much we sacrifice sleep for, if there is too much to do we often times let sleep go rather than a television show or fun night out with the friends. If that the best decision though?

Studies are showing that people who are sleep deprived and on the road driving are posing extreme dangers not only to themselves, but other people on the road with them. Often times the excuse of giving up sleep is justified as long as a coffee can be in hand as we drive. This is not the case; driving while tired can have extreme consequences. The North Carolina Highway Patrol claims that drowsiness while driving is the cause of thousands of car accidents annually, and reports of fatal accidents exist as well.

The consequences of not receiving enough sleep not only affect your ability to work hard throughout the day and maintain focus, but it is also affecting the ability to keep your eyes on the road. It is easier said than doesn't to have a perfect sleep schedule, though it must remain a priority in one’s life. One night without sleep can have disastrous effects on the rest of the week, and not only that the rest of your life if involved in an accident. Studies are showing that being drowsy on the road is similar to driving under the influence, though there is no real way to scientifically test how tired your body really is.

Research also shows that those who sleep between only 6-7 hours a night are twice as likely to get involved in a car accident than those sleeping for 8 or more hours a night. People that choose to sleep less than 5 hours per night are increasing their risk for a car accident by 4 or 5 times. Either way, driving while tired is extremely dangerous; make a plan of action to start better sleeping patterns. If you do sleep more as a general way of life, you will notice improvement in many areas, whether it is on the road or at work, or the mere fact that you are alive and breathing. Be aware of the consequences, and also be aware of your surroundings for other drivers on the road who appear to be drowsy.

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