Impact of sleeping disorders on drivers

There are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood of a driver ending up in an accident. Alcohol and taking illegal drugs are some of the biggest contributors, but many people end up in accidents due to driving while drowsy.

Estimates collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately one out of every 25 adults have fallen asleep while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Some people feel drowsy simply because they did not get a good night’s sleep the previous evening. Others have an actual sleeping disorder preventing them from sleeping properly. Either way, the driver needs to resolve the issue immediately before ending up in an auto accident.

Sleeping disorders that increase the risk of an accident

The two most common sleeping disorders in the United States are insomnia and sleep apnea. Insomnia keeps people awake when they need to be asleep, and sleep apnea interrupts people’s breathing patterns while they are asleep. Sleep apnea wakes people up periodically throughout the night. There are many other health complications that can develop, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Signs a sleeping disorder impacts driving

People need to be aware of when they are in no condition to drive. Some of the main symptoms that someone needs to get more sleep before driving include:

  • Hitting the rumble strip on the roadside
  • Missing an exit
  • Blinking or yawning frequently
  • Drifting from one lane to the next
  • Forgetting things that just occurred

Ways to prevent drowsy driving

Getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night is the easiest way to circumvent distracted driving. However, if people suffer from a sleeping disorder, then they need to see a medical professional to treat it. For example, doctors can treat sleep apnea by prescribing a mouth guard or CPAP machine to the sufferer.