More Americans are losing sleep. We miss sleep over our kids, work, and for that extra dollar. People are pushing through their day with less hours of sleep and it can lead to some dangerous repercussions. It has recently been found that every hour of sleep counts when you get behind the wheel.
A new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that drivers who get only five or six hours of sleep a night are twice as likely to get in an accident as people who get seven or more hours. Not only that, but the less sleep people get the higher the likelihood of a crash. Drivers who get four or five hours have four times the chance of getting in a crash, similar statistics for someone who has been drinking.
Drowsy and drunk drivers can be equally dangerous
This means that a tired driver running on low sleep is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. In fact, 20 percent of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. Drinking and driving is an obvious poor choice which many people try to avoid. DUI check points are set in place and police can check for drunk drivers, but there are no tests for sleep deprived drivers. It is hard to protect against something that is difficult to detect. After an accident many people resort to filing personal injury claims to recover from crashes with drowsy drivers.
The director of the Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research for AAA goes as far to say that people who have not slept at least seven hours shouldn't be driving. What does this mean for more than one third of Americans who do not get enough sleep on a regular basis? What about the people who cannot choose to get more sleep?
Millions of Americans are too busy to sleep more
People often say that they don't have time for sleep. They have their kids waking them up in the middle of the night or they are stressed from work. But millions of Americans in the lower and middle class cannot sleep 7 hours a night because they juggle multiple jobs.
The amount of people who work multiple jobs has hit an eight-year high this year. There are 7.8 million multiple job holders in the U.S. with most of them working both a full-time and a part-time position. These people must choose to work overtime to support their families. For people working overnights and long days there is a way to stay safe on the road.
It is possible to reduce the effects of sleep deprivation by pulling over and taking short naps. Even 10 or 20 minute naps can have huge benefits in preventing a crash in sleepy drivers. Take a mini nap every few hours on a long road trip over night or a quick one before making your way home from work. Getting to a destination quickly is not worth the risk of an accident.