A report was released yesterday in the US which showcased some pretty interesting and shocking results. Thought drunk driving was the worst thing you could do? Turns out driving with lack of sleep is equally bad. The report stated that drowsy driving was as dangerous as driving drunk. And by lack of sleep, we mean sleeping less than 7 hours at night, something that most of us do.
It is advised that a driver should get more than 7 hours of sleep to be fresh enough to reduce the risk of crashing. The study covered 4571 crashes that occured between July 2005 and December 2007 when emergency services were dispatched to the scene of an accident. According to the report, the following data has come out:
The risk of crashing exponentially increases as the amount of sleep reduces. While if you have 6-7 hours sleep, the risk increases by 1.3 times, for 5-6 hours, it becomes 1.9 times, for 4-5 hours it becomes 4.3 times and a massive 11.5 times if you sleep less than 4 hours. The study showcased only those driver’s that drove from 6 am to midnight, and not those that drove in early morning, which is regarded as the most risky period to drive in.
“Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult, and far too often, we sacrifice our sleep as a result,” said Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA. “Failing to maintain a healthy sleep schedule could mean putting yourself or others on the road at risk.” “You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel,” said David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Problems faced by drowsy drivers
Fighting the urge to shut eyes
Drifting across lanes of traffic. This can have severe consequences in India.
When the governement of India released road accident statistics for the year 2015, the report showed that 17 people die every hour on our roads. That translates into a life lost every 3.5 minutes. The top 5 cities that were the most dangerous to drive on were Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kanpur followed by Mumabi where as the maximum deaths recorded per 100 accidents were more in the smaller cities, like Amritsar, Ludhiana, Varanasi, Asansol. More info here: Link. Since this survey was done in the US where the number of fatalities are lesser, if such a survey was done here, the numbers would be much more.
So how do you prevent a mishap?
Don’t eat heavy food
Make sure you have an alert passenger, who is fresh. A passenger who is sleeping distracts the driver as well.
If you feel you are getting drowsy, stop for a while or hand over the keys to some one who is fresh. Driving when you know you are sleepy is not the best thing to do. Also, Stop immediately. Don’t keep waiting for the next rest station. You might not make it there.
If you are under medication, make sure that it doesn’t cause drowsiness.
Our roads have way more obstacles than those abroad, so losing concentration here can have more severe consequences.