People who lose as little as one hour of sleep from the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk of having a car crash. Drowsy driving is just as bad as being drunk when it comes to being impaired behind the wheel, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And this is a real problem, since 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than seven hours a night. You may think you can function just fine on five or six hours of shut-eye, but you can't function just fine on that amount of sleep when you're driving. Specifically, here is your crash risk based on the number of hours of sleep:
  • Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times the crash risk 
  • Five to six hours of sleep: 1.9 times the crash risk 
  • Four to five hours of sleep: 4.3 times the crash risk 
  • Less than four hours of sleep: 11.5 times the crash risk 

Scary fact: While 97 percent of drivers told the AAA Foundation they view drowsy driving as a completely unacceptable behavior that is a serious threat to their safety, nearly one in three also admitted that at least once in the past month they drove when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open.

  • What are the symptoms of drowsy driving? 
  • Having trouble keeping your eyes open 
  • Drifting into other lanes 
  • Not remembering the last few miles driven 

When you're making a long trip, do make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep. In addition, travel at a time when you're normally awake and schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles. Avoid eating heavy foods that can make you sleepy.


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