Drowsy driving a bigger problem than many realize

Most people have had the sensation while driving the roads in Georgia, especially while on the interstates. You may not feel tired when you begin driving, but after a while, staring at the road in front of you, you sense you eyelids becoming heavy and you may even feel your chin drop, as you momentarily drift off.

You may arrive at your destination, and think to yourself that maybe you should have had a little more sleep, but you do not feel as if you were ever in any danger. After all, it is not as if you were driving drunk. Or is it very much like driving drunk, and in the range of car accidents, could it even be worse?

A recent study finds that many people who believe they have had an adequate amount of sleep still are driving drowsy. The study from the University of Pennsylvania Health System finds that most people need at least seven hours of sleep every night.

They reported that people who only reported five hours of sleep were 3-4 times as likely to report dozing off at that wheel as those who obtain seven hours of sleep.

The study showed that a person's subjective feelings of having had enough sleep at night were not supported by accident data. The drivers who had less than seven hours of sleep had more accidents whether or not they claimed they felt rested.

The doctor quoted in the story noted that drowsy driving causes more serious accidents than drunk driving. Many people believe they can function on five or six hours of sleep and this leads to them placing others at risk in the roads and highways. 

Source: CBS Atlanta, "Drowsy Driving Becoming Dangerous Problem," Lynne Adkins, October 7, 2013

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