Experts recommend that you get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you just laughed a little to yourself because that seems impossible, you aren't alone. Sleep often seems like a luxury, considering all of your daily obligations.
More than likely, you have driven when, realistically, you were probably too tired to do so safely. Fortunately, you may only need an extra shot of caffeine to get you over the hump and to your destination safely, but that may not be the case, or enough, for other drivers. You may never know until it's too late just how dangerous the driver next to you is.
These statistics may make you think twice about driving drowsy
Would it surprise you to know that going without sleep for even 18 hours makes you just as dangerous as someone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is Illinois' legal limit? Knowing that, it may not surprise you that approximately 100,000 car accidents every year result from drowsy driving.
These factors increase the risk of danger
Certain factors indicate that a person probably shouldn't drive because he or she may not be able to do so safely:
- Driving alone
- Driving on a long, boring, dark or rural road
- Suffering from sleep deprivation or fatigue
- Getting less than six hours of sleep per night
- Drinking even some alcohol
- Suffering from loss of sleep and poor quality of sleep
- Working with a sleep debt
- Working odd shifts
- Working more than one job and primarily shift work
- Driving long distances without giving yourself adequate rest breaks
- Working over 60 hours a week
- Driving when you would normally sleep, mid-afternoon or night
- Taking a medication that causes drowsiness
While you may drive under one or more of these conditions only occasionally, some people do it much more often if not all the time. Men age 25 or younger, long-haul truck drivers and business travelers tend to have a higher risk for drowsy driving, along with shift workers and those suffering from undiagnosed sleep disorders.
You could end up seriously injured in an accident with someone who shouldn't have driven because they were too tired to do so. If this does happen, you may have the opportunity to pursue compensation from the other driver to cover your accident-related financial losses.