An exhausted driver, who is missing sleep, yawning and driving a car.

Are you 100% careful on the road when missing sleep?

Driving is a rite of passage. And for many, it is one of the signifiers of adulthood. However, people hold a sort of responsibility when it comes to being on the road. It is to be careful. We’ve all heard the phrase “Drive Responsibly” at one point or another. However, is it possible to do so when you are missing sleep? How does losing 1 to 2 hours of bed rest affect our ability to drive?

The Impact of Missing Sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours they are supposed to receive daily. The American Automobile Association (AAA) digs even deeper into the issue and discovered two facts. The first is that drivers who miss 1 to 2 hours of sleep double their crash risk, while the second states that drivers who miss more than 2-3 hours of sleep quadruple their risk.

This is telling information. A lack of sleep can be compared to drinking alcohol. And considering that both missing sleep and being under the influence of alcohol impairs your ability to function, they are equally dangerous.

Even the AAA acknowledges that the crash risk is associated with a lack of sleep is very similar to being over the legal limit for alcohol. According to Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA states “Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult and far too often we sacrifice our sleep as a result. Failing to maintain a healthy sleep schedule could mean putting yourself or others on the road at risk.”

Driving without sleep is a great risk. People often experience trouble keeping their eyes open, losing memories, fatigue, and more. Pushing yourself without proper care is too dangerous. Healthy sleep can keep roads safe, as well as the people driving on them.