According to the CDC, an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers (18 years or older) report having fallen asleep while driving in the last 30 days
Have you ever almost fallen asleep at the wheel? If you answered “yes,” you’re not alone. In fact, the CDC believes that at any given time, roughly 1 in 25 people have fallen asleep while driving in the last 30 days. However, even drowsy driving accounts for a significant portion of car accidents. Here are 6 critical factors that contribute to drowsy driving.
Most of us understand why alcohol is so dangerous for drivers. The typical risks that most people are familiar with are worsened motor skills, slow reaction time, and poor judgment. What you might not know is that many of those dangers are related to drowsiness. Though alcohol often raises your energy in the short term, you will get tired as you come down, and especially late at night.
The advancements that the medical industry has managed to make are somewhat of a miracle. There is a medication to treat almost every ailment, and they are usually incredibly effective. Unfortunately, these drugs come with a variety of side effects, including drowsiness. The most common ones that cause fatigue are allergy medications, so try to be careful when using them.
Poor Sleeping Habits
Of course, it isn’t just mind-altering substances that can make you drowsy. Lack of sleep can do that too. Two of the most significant problems people have are electronics use before bed and staying up too late. Additionally, these two issues often happen in conjunction. The less you sleep, the more tired you are, and the higher the risk you take while driving.
Though poor habits are the top cause of lack of sleep, you may have a legitimate sleep disorder. Some typical examples are sleep apnea, night terrors, and narcolepsy. Each of these issues will lead to fatigue and poor driving. Those that suffer from them should consider seeing an appropriate medical professional and discussing their options.
Lack of Hydration
This is a factor that you probably didn’t expect on this list, but it is more important than you might think. The reason is that drinking water in the morning signals to your body that it is time to wake up and start functioning. Those that choose not to drink it upon waking up may feel drowsy and likely not know the underlying cause.
Another factor that you might not expect is lack of exercise. The science behind this principle is that activity expends energy in the short term, but leads to more of it in the long term. The way you can visualize this is imagining a day at your work where you sit for almost 8 hours straight. In all likelihood, you’re going to be exhausted on your commute home. On the other hand, a more active day will yield more energy as night comes.
Given how dangerous drowsy driving is, it is in your best interest to prioritize avoiding it. A few of the lifestyle changes you can make are never drinking and driving, being careful with medication, improving sleeping habits, solving sleep disorders, drinking more water, and working some exercise into your day. Still, you cannot control the behavior of other drivers. If a fatigued person hits you on the road, you should consider hiring a St. Louis car accident lawyer to represent you.