Car accident risk may increase on too little sleep

Startling results from a new study have given safety advocates in Ontario cause for concern. The study done by the American Automobile Association reveals the dangers of driving after an inadequate amount sleep. The effects of too little sleep can drastically increase the likelihood of someone being involved in a car accident.

The recommended amount of sleep for good health is seven hours. However, a person sleeping one or two hours less than that is twice as likely to be in a collision. Someone driving on four hours sleep or less may quadruple his or her risk. A spokesperson for the Canadian Automobile Association says that equates to someone driving with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit.

The most recent statistics for Canada show that fatigue was a factor in 20 percent of fatal accidents. Nevertheless, when polled about the highway safety issues that concern them, drivers ranked fatigue as fifth after texting while driving and impaired driving. This tells safety experts that drivers understand that fatigued driving is dangerous, but they may not realize just how dangerous.

At this time of year, a driver may be operating on little sleep if, for example, he or she attempts to make it overnight to see relatives for the holiday. This puts that person and others at risk of a car accident, which seems even more tragic during the holidays. If people in Ontario would think of drowsy driving as they do impaired driving, they would stay off the road or take a cab when they haven't had enough sleep. Those seriously injured in this manner likely have grounds for a civil lawsuit, seeking reimbursement for resulting financial losses.

Source: cbc.ca, "Just one more hour of Netflix before bed? You could be doubling your crash risk the next morning", Tania Mehta, Dec. 9, 2016

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