Drivers in Colorado often get behind the wheel without enough sleep. Compared to driving under the influence, this may seem like a low-risk decision to make. However, studies have shown otherwise. According to the AAA Foundation, drivers have a higher risk of causing a crash when they routinely do not get enough sleep or get even an hour less than they usually would.
Healthy adults need seven to nine hours of rest every day to remain healthy and to avoid hazards related to drowsy driving. Sleep deprivation slows the reflexes that help to keep drivers safe. It also leads to difficulty focusing and decreased accuracy. In fact, drowsy drivers are responsible for up to 21% of fatal accidents in America. Drivers who got less than four hours of sleep are especially dangerous.
According to the CDC, in a survey conducted, one in 25 people over the age of 17 confessed to falling asleep at the wheel within the 30-day period prior to responding. The drivers most likely to fall asleep at the wheel include the following:
- Commercial drivers, such as truck drivers, bus drivers and tow truck operators
- Drivers suffering from untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
- Drivers taking medication where drowsiness is a potential symptom
- People who work long shifts or night shifts
To protect themselves and others on the road, people need to pay attention to their own driving habits to determine when they are too tired to drive. Yawning and frequent blinking are early signs. When drivers find it difficult to maintain their lane or begin to drive on the rumble strip, it may already be too late. Whenever possible, it is almost always better to pull over and get some rest.