Are You Sleepy When Driving?
If so, you may be one of the millions of Americans who risk their own lives, and the lives of others, by driving drowsy.
And, if left untreated you may:
Be arrested for driving impaired
Driving While Drowsy or Tired Can Cause Devastating Fatal Road Accidents
- Lose your commercial driver's license or be fired from your job due to motor vehicle accidents and / or non-compliance issues
- Cause a serious accident that injures or kills yourself, or others
Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that it's okay to drive when they're sleepy and that they can handle these situations. So, they fail to look for the root cause of their drowsy driving until it's too late ...
Consider This ...
The U.S. Department of Transportation claims that on average, sleepy drivers cause over 100,000 motor vehicle accidents each year and these result in 1,500 deaths and 70,000 injuries. This has prompted trucking companies and state transportation agencies to enact new standards that require commercial drivers to proactively describe any sleeping problems they have to their physician and / or undergo evaluations for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if they exhibit high-risk factors (e.g. obesity, diabetes, heart disease).
Untreated Sleep Disorders in Motor Vehicle Drivers Can Result in Death or Severe Injury
Here's why... People who suffer from untreated sleep apnea - a serious medical disorder where sufferers literally stop breathing many times while sleeping - are more likely to be "drowsy drivers" and therefore, two to seven times more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than others. But this fate is entirely avoidable because a simple overnight sleep study can rule out or confirm sleep apnea (and /or other sleeping disorders) - and then treated successfully.
Simply put, if this sounds like you there's no good reason to continue driving dangerously because help is just a phone call away and begins with a confidential consultation and evaluation by one of our board-certified sleep physicians or your family doctor.
However, if you're not certain that you need help, use the following "Driving Drowsy" symptoms self-assessment checklist ("Drowsy Driving Symptoms Checklist") to guide your decision. If you are experiencing only two of the signs listed, then you should seek help right away.
Drowsy Driving Symptoms Checklist
If you are experiencing just two of the symptoms included in the list above, you should call us toll- free today at 866-499-1588. You can also contact us using our online Appointment Request Form to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified sleep physicians.
When you call, we will answer your questions, listen to your concerns, and / or schedule you for a confidential consultation with one of our board-certified sleep physicians, who will explore the possible causes of your drowsy driving and offer you solutions for treating it.
Why Seek Help Immediately?
It goes without saying that sleepy drivers risk their lives and as importantly, the lives of others. And they may also be risking their livelihoods. But even if they're able to avoid accidents or tickets, excessive sleepiness - whether while driving or not - usually means that these individuals have an underlying medical sleeping disorder such as, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) or insomnia. And, if left undiagnosed and untreated you're risking other serious medical problems like hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and depression... among others.
What Is Drowsy Driving?
Night Driving With an Untreated Sleep Disorder Can Be Especially Dangerous
As its name implies, "drowsy driving" is a term that was coined by sleep medical professionals to describe a condition where sufferers often have difficulty staying awake while operating motor vehicles.
On the surface, it is an obvious signal that sufferers are not getting adequate restorative sleep. However, even when the problem is acknowledged the solution is often oversimplified (i.e. "I'll go to bed earlier so I'm not so tired.") and the fact that it can be symptomatic of other more serious sleeping disorders, is overlooked or ignored.
As a result, many go untreated and their excessive sleepiness permeates every aspect of their lives - workplace performance, relationships, and more.
A variety of physical and psychological factors as well as lifestyle choices can cause people to feel excessively sleepy, especially when driving, such as:
- Persistent stress
- Lack of exercise
- Sleep apnea
- Restless Leg Syndrome (also known as, PLM or Periodic Limb Movement)
- Caffeine or other stimulants
- Poor sleep hygiene (extreme room temperatures, bright light exposure before or in bed, caffeine intake later in the day, sleep position, over stimulation before or while in bed - e.g. trying to sleep with TV on - or irregular schedule)
With a Sleep Disorder Diagnosed, Treated and Managed, You Can More Confidently Get on With Your Life
Additionally, it's also a great idea to complete our Epworth Sleepiness Scale if you'd like gain more insights into your level of sleepiness.