Are drowsy drivers posing risks on Austin roads?
Many Austin area residents pride themselves on being safe drivers. They obey the speed limits, wear their seatbelts, and remain committed to never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, these drivers might not always make safe decisions.
Many otherwise responsible drivers routinely get behind the wheel when they are very fatigued. They might be drowsy during their morning commutes every single day; they might pack the kids into the car after a long weekend at grandma’s and hop into the driver’s seat while barely keeping their eyes open. Drowsy drivers are far more likely to cause car accidents than drivers who are awake and alert.
Many people do not realize how dangerous it is to drive while sleepy, but a recent study illustrates some of the risks. The study, which has been published in the Journey of Clinical Sleep Medicine journal, evaluated how sleep apnea and general sleepiness increases a driver’s likelihood of causing a crash.
The researchers concluded that those with sleep apnea – a condition that causes people to sleep poorly and remain sleepy throughout the day – are about three times more likely to get into car accidents than the general population.
Many Texas residents might see this study and say to themselves, “Well, I don’t have sleep apnea, and even when I’m exhausted I’d never fall asleep behind the wheel.”
However, everyday, stories of tragic car accidents serve as reminders that anyone who is tired has the potential to doze off while driving. This might be especially likely to happen during long road trips.
As we head into the holiday travel season, Austin drivers should be encouraged to only drive when they are sober and alert. Those who choose otherwise risk their lives and the lives of everyone else on or near the roads.
Source: Car Connection, “Study: Drowsy Drivers Three Times More Likely To Have Auto Accidents,” Richard Read, Oct. 16, 2013