Studies have shown that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In many ways, it is exactly the same.
Firstly, your judgment, reaction times and concentration on the road are impaired.
Secondly, your chance of having an accident increases up to 15 times.
Estimates by US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- 810K collisions/year
- $15.9 billion in collision costs/year
- 1,400 fatalities/year
Those suffering from daytime drowsiness are most commonly snorers. Consequently, snoring is disruption to sleep in that it can be sign of obstructive sleep apnea.
What is OSA?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a condition that causes the soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse, cutting off the air causing the person to wake. This happens potentially thousands of times during the night to begin breathing again without even knowing.
Furthermore, waking so many times over the course of the night doesn’t give the body time to rest, so the sufferer is more tired during the day. As a result, an estimated 20 million people are suffering nationwide. Of these, only 20% are currently receiving treatment.
We have all driven home a little tired. Do you remember how hard it was to concentrate? Did you have to blast the radio or air conditioning to keep yourself alert? Did you drink coffee or energy drinks just to keep your eyes open?
Imagine if that is what you felt like every time you got in your car, sleepy, spacey and distracted.
This is a dangerous risk that is more common than you may think surrounding motorists every day.
The cost of continuing to drive with undiagnosed sleep apnea is astronomical. It is estimated to cause:
$15.9 billion in collision costs/year
Screen Your Patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Consequently, by simply screening patients and providing treatment for OSA, you can save patients and the community the trauma of an auto accident, save money and save lives.
It is dangerous to drive impaired. You would not drive drunk, so do not drive drowsy. A better drive and a better night’s rest are possible.