We’ve all done it. Whether it be our kids ringing us at the dead of night for a lift home from a night out, the thought of that dreaded presentation at working keep you up, or you’ve not been quite 100% had an interrupted night’s sleep and got behind the wheel when you’re feeling far from fresh. Well, a recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that driving tired can be as dangerous as those who are drunk.
According to the organisation who focusses on how to make driving safer, if you sleep for less than five hours, you are as dangerous to yourself, other motorists, and pedestrians as you are when you are over the drink driving limit.
The figures behind the study suggested that those who miss out on a crucial few hours of sleep the night before getting behind the wheel are almost twice as likely to cause a crash as those who have slept the health recommended seven hours. The key factor behind the study indicated that sleep deprivation showed similar body traits to that of alcohol with slower reaction times and a much shorter attention span. The worrying figures behind this study is that the Sleep Council indicates that around one in three Britons gets only five or six hours of sleep a night which puts them alarmingly close to the barrier and at a substantially increased risk of being involved in an accident.
The paper studied over 4,750 crashes across the US and resulted in finding that drowsiness was the main cause of 7% of all crashes and 21% of all those that lead to a fatality. Similar reviews have been undertaken in the UK with estimates of roughly 10% of all road deaths being the major factor. Another unnerving statistic is that more than one in seven drivers on UK roads admitted that they frequently suffered memory losses whilst behind the wheel, with 15 per cent are unable to recall the last few moments of the journey.
|Level of sleep||Risk of crashing|
|6-7 hours||1.3 times normal risk|
|5-6 hours||1.9 times normal risk|
|4-5 hours||4.3 times normal risk|
|Less than 4 hours||11.5 times normal risk|
Make sure you don’t miss the warning signs, don’t drive if you’ve not slept well and have a very, Merry Christmas!