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27Jun2013

Drowsy Driving, A Dangerous Scenario

DID YOU KNOW THAT MOST motor vehicle accidents happen during napping or sleeping hours? That’s right, between midnight to 5 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. more crashes occur, 20% of which are related to drowsiness. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 100,000 car crashes a year are attributed to drowsiness behind the wheel.

Most Of Us Don’t Realize…

Most of us don’t realize how dangerous drowsy driving really is. Some reports indicate that drowsy driving crashes are more frequent than drunken driving crashes, potentially increasing the estimated number of drowsy related crashes per year stated above. If a person spends extended time driving with little to no sleep it is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.05%.

A Main Cause Of Drowsy Driving Is Sleep Apnea

Many people who have driven drowsy are not just tired and fatigued from the long trip. One of the main causes that may be affecting their attentiveness behind the wheel is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects the quality of sleep a person gets the night before driving to their next destination. Even before getting behind the wheel they are at higher risk of falling asleep than if they either didn’t have effects from sleep apnea or were treated by a medical professional. Besides day time drowsiness, other signs of sleep apnea include: snoring, gasping for air while sleeping, stoppage of breathing during sleep, high blood pressure, frequent need to use the bathroom at night, headaches, moodiness and depression.

Do You Often Drive Long Distances?

If you or someone you know drives long distances for their job or just pleasure, ask them if they have ever been driving drowsy behind the wheel. They may want to talk with their family physician or dentist to see how they can be screened for sleep apnea. Treatment of sleep apnea is relatively simple and successful, many times your dentist can assist you in treatment. Who knows, it may save a life.

If you have questions about sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing feel free to contact us for more information.

As always, keep on smiling!

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