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Drowsy Driving

Don’t put yourself – and others – at risk by driving when you’re sleepy. Drowsiness is a huge but largely underestimated factor in road accidents. 

At Midwest Chest Consultants in St. Charles, Missouri, we can help minimize your risk by addressing your sleep habits and any medical sleep disorder. And it’s important to note that sleep disorders remain unaddressed for an average of seven years, which is too long to put yourself at risk of injury or even death.

What is Drowsy Driving?

Each year, drowsiness is indicated as a factor in about 100,000 motor-vehicle accident reports. But it is thought that drowsy driving may actually be a contributor to even more crashes and may be one of the leading causes of automotive crashes. 

There is no test to measure drowsiness, and there is little or no police training in identifying drowsiness as a crash factor. In fact, Missouri is one of six states that do not have a code for sleepiness on police accident-report forms.

Because there is no way to measure drowsiness, there is no way to accurately estimate its role in motor-vehicle accidents, which is therefore thought to be vastly underestimated.

What Causes Drowsy Driving?

Drowsiness or fatigue can have many causes, including shift work, self-induced sleep deprivation, stress, and many other situations. But medical sleep disorders like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome are certain to be among the more significant contributors. Why? Because clinically recognized sleep disorders are known to affect as many as 40 million Americans!

According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers are often unaware of their deteriorating condition. That same research shows that drivers who are aware of their drowsiness often continue driving anyway.

Danger Signs of Driving Drowsy

Are you occasionally too sleepy to be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle? Here are some of the clear signs that the National Sleep Foundation wants to you to be aware of:

  • Your eyes close or go out of focus by themselves
  • You have trouble keeping your head up
  • You can’t stop yawning
  • You have wandering, disconnected thoughts
  • You don’t remember driving the last few miles
  • You drift between lanes, tailgate, or miss traffic signs
  • You keep jerking the car back into the lane
  • You have drifted off the road and narrowly missed crashing

Risks of Driving Drowsy

  • Roughly 100,000 police-reported crashes per year are the direct result of driver fatigue.*
  • This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.*
  • These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.*
  • 60% of adult drivers — about 168 million people — say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year.†
  • And more than one-third (37% or 103 million people) have actually fallen asleep at the wheel!†
  • Of those who have nodded off, 13% say they have done so at least once a month.†
  • 4% — about 11 million drivers — admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.†

*Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
†Source: 2005 Sleep in America Poll, National Sleep Foundation

Don’t Drive Drowsy! Seek Help for a Sleep Disorder
before It’s Too Late

If you’ve ever dozed off while you’re driving, you might have a sleep disorder. Seek help now before you endanger your life or others. Schedule a consultation with our St. Charles, Missouri sleep doctors today. Call Midwest Chest Consultants at (636) 946-1650 or request an appointment online.