Data from the National Sleep Foundation show 60% of US adults have driven while drowsy and around 33% have actually fallen asleep at the wheel.
Being awake is NOT the same as being alert!
Everyone knows the lack of sleep affects brain function, it, therefore, follows driving with minimal sleep will increase crash risk. Published in Sleep, researchers have quantified the relationship sleep deprivation and car crash risk. The following was concluded:
- Less than 4 hours of sleep is like driving intoxicated (BAC .12g/dL). In the US, driving with a BAC of 0.08 g/dL or higher is illegal.
- Less than 4 hours of sleep increases crash risk 15.1 fold
- Less than 5 hours of sleep increases crash risk 2.1
- Driving for 3 hours or longer without a break was also found to be at increased risk.
- Shift changes (disruption in the body’s internal clock) combined with sleep deprivation, increase one’s risk of a crash
You may not always need a cup of coffee you may just need a nap.