Drowsy driving is a serious risk not only for the driver, but also for others who share the road with them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there may be more than 1500 deaths in accidents caused by drowsy driving, and another more than 70,000 injuries.
Although sleep apnea may increase your risk of falling asleep at the wheel, even a minor sleep disordered breathing ailment like snoring may put you at significantly increased risk.
Drowsy Driving Is Common, Especially Among Snorers
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) drowsy driving fact sheet, reports figures from a nationwide survey of drivers. More than 150,000 drivers were surveyed from coast to coast in about 19 states and the District of Columbia. Results showed that about 4% of drivers said they had fallen asleep while driving during the 30 days before the survey. Let that sink in. About 1 in 25 drivers fall asleep while driving every month. That means that, on any given day, about 1 in 750 drivers is likely to fall asleep at the wheel. Think about how many cars you pass on the road during a normal drive around Omaha. Now imagine how many of those drivers are likely to fall asleep today.
Drivers at the greatest risk for falling asleep were those who snored and typically got six or fewer hours of sleep a night, which was about four times greater than the risk for people who got 7 or more hours of sleep and didn’t snore.
Snoring, Sleep Apnea, and Drowsy Driving
Snoring is a type of sleep disordered breathing. Although it is considered by many people to be just a minor nuisance, it’s actually interfering with your breathing, which means you get fewer hours of sleep and lower quality of sleep.
In sleep apnea, you not only have diminished oxygen, your airway may close altogether, resulting in your breathing stopping. When this occurs, you body must wake up temporarily to restore breathing.
Both can lead to increased daytime sleepiness, and to an increased risk of car accidents. Don’t wait until you find yourself falling asleep at the wheel again. Get sleep apnea treatment that can help you rest soundly at night.
For more information about your sleep apnea treatment options, please contact the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha today.