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Driving While Sleepy Even More Deadly Than Previously Believed

A study recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who get less than seven hours of sleep the previous night may want to think twice before getting behind the wheel. The study found that drivers who miss only one or two of the recommended seven hours of sleep nearly double their risk for a crash.

The study looked at 7,234 drivers who were involved in 4,571 crashes that required emergency medical treatment. Investigators in those crashes looked at a number of factors that could have contributed to the crash, including driver error and mechanical failure. The drivers in those crashes were asked about how many hours of sleep they had the night before and how much sleep they usually got.

The study found that the crash risk for drivers who did not get enough sleep increased steadily when compared with drivers who slept at least seven hours the night before. Drivers who got six to seven hours of sleep had 1.3 times the risk of crashing. Those who had five to six hours of sleep had 1.9 times the crash risk. Drivers who had four to five hours of sleep had 4.3 times the crash risk. Those drivers who had less than four hours of sleep the night before had 11.5 times the crash risk.

Most drivers who were surveyed said they believed that driving while drowsy is unacceptable, but almost a third of drivers admitted to doing so at least once in the last month. Although most drivers would not consider driving while drunk or driving while texting, there is not a similar public stigma with driving while sleepy. However, the study shows that missing two or three hours of sleep in a night puts a driver at the same risk of having a crash as a drunk driver.

Even if you don’t feel sleepy, if you have not had enough sleep the night before it may not be a good idea to take a trip – the study found that over half the drivers who were involved in crashes because of fatigue felt no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel. Among those drivers who did show symptoms of drowsy driving, the common signs included yawning and blinking frequently, not remembering the last few miles driven, and drifting in and out of the lane.

If you plan on taking a long trip, it’s important that you sleep for at least seven hours the night before the trip. Make sure to take a break at least every two hours. If possible, travel with a passenger who can take turns driving. Do not travel at night or other times during which you would normally be asleep.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident that you believe was caused by the other driver’s fatigue, call the Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Holston & Huntley. We will provide you with a free consultation on your case, and if we choose to take your case you pay us nothing unless we obtain a recovery for you. Call us today- consultations are free and you are under no obligation to use our services. We serve Metro Atlanta Georgia as well as Birmingham Alabama including surrounding areas.

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