Safety risk increases as sleep decreases
More than 1,550 American drivers die each year due to drowsy driving. Although people drive tired for a variety of reasons, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea put many drivers in this dangerous position on a daily basis. Considering that sleep-deprived drivers have several times the risk of a car accident compared to drivers who are rested, this is a serious issue that every individual should address to keep themselves alive and help keep the roadways safe. Here’s more information on this topic from Dr. Eddie Siman, a sleep disorder dentist in Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks.
Drowsy Driving Is Impaired Driving
Sleep deprivation impairs our ability to do anything as well as we would otherwise. Unfortunately for many people who lack sleep, their obligations that require driving don’t disappear until they get the rest they need. As a result, thousands if people are at high risk of injuring or killing themselves, their passengers and other drivers when they get behind the wheel. In fact, one study found that more than half of all accidents in the U.S. are caused by sleep-deprived drivers. Considering that fatigue is known to seriously disrupt reaction time, judgment and vigilance, this isn’t too surprising.
Drowsy Driving and Society
The damage caused by drowsy driving affects more than the people who are directly involved with an accident. Emergency personnel and hospitals are also affected by financial burdens caused by drowsy driving. Fatigue can also be blamed for about one-fifth of injuries that occur in the workplace.
Beyond the financial consequences of fatigue-related accidents, serious trauma can result from these situations and affect friends, family, co-workers and others with connections to those who are hurt or killed.
An Insidious Threat
Driving while fatigued is a normal activity for many people. In any given day, people drive to and from work in a state of exhaustion, never thinking that they might be involved in a serious accident due to their lack of alertness. Many people consume huge amounts of caffeine under the assumption that this will keep them from falling asleep and getting hurt. However, the truth is that you don’t have to fall asleep while driving to suffer serious injury or death. In addition, caffeine isn’t able to completely reverse the deficits caused by sleep deprivation, and it only takes a moment of distraction to get into a serious collision.
Sleep Apnea Is a Common Cause of Sleep Deprivation
If you have sleep apnea, you will wake up fatigued whether you sleep for six, eight or even 12 hours. This is because waking up partially or completely dozens of times throughout the night means that you aren’t getting the deep, restorative sleep you need to wake up refreshed. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize how much impact sleep apnea has on their daytime alertness. According to a study performed by researchers at the University of California at San Diego, drivers who suffer from sleep apnea cause about 1,400 crash-related deaths every year in the U.S. If more of these people had told their doctor, “I feel tired while driving,” some might have been able to avoid these accidents and their terrible consequences.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you should seek treatment so you can avoid injuring yourself or someone else when you’re at work or behind the wheel. By simply telling Dr. Eddie Siman, sleep disorder dentist in Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks. “I feel tired while driving,” you can get started finding relief from nighttime sleep apnea and snoring. Before untreated or poorly treated sleep apnea causes you to fall asleep while driving, find out today how an orthodontic device may be able to help you get the quality rest you need.