The driving habit that’s just as bad as being drunk behind the wheel

 ·15 Jun 2024

Driving while tired is just as dangerous as drunken driving.

Although the risks of drinking and driving are well documented, the risks that fatigued or drowsy driving are often overlooked despite the dangers.

Using research from the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, MasterDrive CEO Eugene Herbert said that fatigued drivers account for over 20% of all road accidents.

“Up to 1 in 5 fatal accidents result from tired drivers. Additionally, approximately 1 in 25 drivers report falling asleep while driving, and many more admit to driving while sleep-deprived,” said Herbert.

“Lack of sleep has an adverse neuro-behavioural effect on physical and mental behaviours. Fatigue affects a driver’s cognitive abilities, critical driving skills, concentration, reaction times and awareness of hazards.”

Drowsy driving can also be made worse during flu season.

“A common side-effect of flu medications is drowsiness. Drivers often underestimate the effect this can have. Coupled with the fatigue that accompanies illness, it can be a recipe for disaster. Various studies suggest that driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as drunken driving.”

“These medications can come with a multitude of side effects, including extreme drowsiness. If you experience these symptoms while operating a vehicle, you place yourself in a very dangerous position. Rather, hold off on taking any medication until you have arrived safely at the office.”

There is no easy solution for those who need to drive for a living.

For those on the road a lot, there are close to zero scenarios where it is safe to take flu medication. They should instead take sick leave if recommended by a doctor.

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