Drivers double their risk of an accident if they get behind the wheel after getting just five or six hours of sleep, according to a new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
This is particularly alarming given the fact that 35 percent of drivers say they sleep fewer than the recommended seven, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unfortunately, driving after getting less than seven hours of sleep is often deadly, as one in five fatal crashes each year involves a drowsy driver.
The AAA report found the odds of a crash steadily increased as the amount of sleep decreased:
- Six to seven hours of sleep increased the odds of a crash to 1.3
- Five or six hours of sleep increased the odds to 1.9
- Four and five hours increased the odds to 4.3
- Less than four hours increased the odds to 11.5
Drivers who sleep for less than five hours in a 24-hour period have a crash risk comparable to that of a drunk driver.
Although 97 percent of drivers told the AAA Foundation that driving after missing sleep is incredibly dangerous, one in three admitted that they struggled to keep their eyes open behind the wheel at least once in the past month.
The AAA report, titled Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement, is an analysis of a representative sample of more than 7,000 drivers who were involved in more than 4,500 crashes.
Drowsy Driving Symptoms
If you experience any of these symptoms while driving, you are at increased risk of a drowsy driving crash and should pull over:
- Struggling to keep your eyes open
- Drifting in and out of your lane
- Not remembering the last few miles traveled
However, more than 50 percent of drivers involved in drowsy-driving crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep at the wheel. That is why it is so important to get plenty of sleep before hitting the road.
If you were injured or a lost a loved one in a drowsy driving crash, contact a Fort Worth accident attorney at our firm for a free legal consultation. Our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers are committed to obtaining fair compensation for victims of negligence, including drowsy driving.
Call us at (817) 920-9000 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form.