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What are the risks for drowsy driving crashes?

Sleeplessness and chronic sleep conditions can be a reason for motor vehicle accidents. Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, too.

How many people drive when drowsy?

According to a Gallup survey, around half of all Americans struggle with sleeping difficulties at least sometimes. Around one in 10 of those surveyed admitted that those difficulties were frequent.

With adults admitting that sleeping difficulties are happening often, it's perhaps no surprise that drowsy driving is a concern on the roads. If a driver isn't fully aware, it's much easier for accidents to happen.

How much sleep do you need to lose before it affects your ability to drive?

It's been found in that even a single night without sleep could lead to extreme sleepiness over the course of the following day. There are many reasons why people may not get enough sleep. New parents may stay up with their babies, people going to parties may stay up to late or students could be pulling all-nighters. Whatever the cause is, the lack of sleep has a real impact on the risk of injury the next day.

Which groups of people are at the highest risk of sleep deprivation?

Sleep-restrictive work patterns are another reason for sleep loss and drowsy driving. Those who work swing shifts, overtime or night shifts are at a higher risk for drowsy driving. In a survey taken in New York, around half the drivers who were driving drowsy and involved in an accident had been working a night shift or had been working overtime prior to the accident taking place.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "IV. Risks for Drowsy Driving Crashes," accessed June 02, 2016

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