Every Hour Counts
December 22, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Traffic safety officials, police and physicians warn us regularly about the risks involved with drunk driving. Massive campaigns are launched regularly about the dangers of mixing driving with alcohol and there are regular enforcement blitzes. The same holds true for distracted driving. Now we are beginning to understand the dangers of driving while sleepy.
A recent study of crash rates released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that nearly 7% of all crashes, 13% of car accidents involving hospitalization, and 21% of fatalities have driver fatigue as a common factor. The study also showed that the following factors result in a significantly increased crash rate:
- drivers who regularly get less than 5 hours of sleep a day
- those have slept fewer than 7 hours in the previous 24
- Those who sleep one hour less than their usual amount in the previous night.
The crash rates rise to those seen while driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit of 0.08%.
The data came from police reports in which at least one car was towed from the scene, and from accidents in which EMS were called. These drivers were all asked to report how much sleep they’d had in the previous 24 hours.
This is a particularly concerning finding given that it is estimated almost 1/3 people in Canada are sleep deprived. Sleep experts recommend that people should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Most people report significantly less sleep. Doctors warn sleep is not a luxury, but a necessity and that sleep deprivation is strongly associated with weight gain and depression. These in turn are linked to other health issues like hypertension and diabetes.
Tips for getting enough sleep:
- Make it a priority
- Stop using your ‘blue light’ devices (phones, laptops, tablets) at least an hour before bed
- Get enough exercise
- Set your alarm to remind you when bedtime should be
- Make your sleep environment a good one. Get dark drapes and make your room a quiet space in the house.
Tips for driving safely when tired:
- Take regular breaks at least every 2-3 hours. Get out of the car, eat something and walk around for 10 minutes. Your mind will ‘get off the road’ and you’ll feel better.
- Pull off the road if you are feeling sleepy and take a nap. You can stop at rest areas or truck stops, even gas stations. Tilt your seat back and take a 20 minute nap. It will refresh you and keep you safe for another few hours.
- If it is late at night and you find yourself dozing off, stop and sleep or stop for the night at a hotel.
|Posted under Car Accidents
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About Deutschmann Law
Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.