The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a new report which points out the need for sleep before driving as sleep-deprived drivers are more likely to cause traffic incidents.
Most traffic authorities and regulations point out the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol or the dangers of driving and texting or other general distractions.
However, one very important human habit which is very important in traffic, and in general, has resurfaced.
The AAA went to release, on Tuesday, a new report about driving and the need for sleep before performing such an activity.
AAA based its report research on data gathered by the NHTSA’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey.
The Survey gathered data from police-reported crashes that had more serious consequences such as the need for medical services or of towing at least one car.
Drivers involved in such crashes were asked, amongst others, to estimate the number of hours they had slept the night before.
As such, the AAA report determined that fewer hours of sleep determine a higher risk of traffic accidents. The report suggests that drivers that have slept a maximum or 6 hours are twice as likely to crash when compared to more than 7 hours of sleep drivers.
The sleep cycles were calculated for a 24 hours day period as heavily sleep deprived drivers are strongly urged not to get behind the wheel.
Previous research found that in the United States alone, an approximate 20 percent of the fatal accidents involved a drowsy driver.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, last year alone saw a total number of 35,092 traffic deaths. The number is 7.2 percent higher than the one registered in 2014.
Jake Nelson, the AAA Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research Director, went to advise drivers in need for sleep not to get behind the wheel.
He stated that a person should not be driving if they have been having a regular or unique regime of fewer than 7 hours of sleep per day.
The daily seven to eight hours of sleep are quite necessary and can be obtained even through naps, if not from a long night sleep.
The aforementioned Nelson also included naps as an alternative to safe driving. According to him, in case a driver is feeling sleepy, they should pull over and take a nap.
Even a short period of sleep should ensure a safer driving method for all those concerned. Such 10 to 20-minute naps are considered beneficial, especially in long driving cases.
The need for sleep seems to be a general problem, according to a CDC analysis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that as a nation, American residents do not usually get enough sleep.
Besides traffic accidents, the need for sleep has been linked to other issues such as depression and weight gain.
As such, the advice offered by Nelson to drivers may prove to be beneficial to all sleep-deprived categories.
The recommended minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep can be achieved both through a long night’s sleep and with through the help of short naps during the day.
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