Sleep deprivation proves dangerous to drivers

STUDY: More than 100 million drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Everyday Millions of drivers are on the road without having enough sleep to drive the car safely.

“Oh Gosh! I have my kids, house, work, bills, parents, everything! We’re very stubborn, we have places to go and we’re always very busy,” Christina Grable, from Chicopee, said about balancing sleep with a busy life.

Hugo Morales, also from Chicopee, told 22New not getting enough sleep is a constant battle for a number of reasons, “Working long hours, probably stressful situations, probably overdoing it when you go out on a Friday or Saturday night.”

Research from the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly 40 percent of drivers, or more than 100 million people, admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that every year about 100,000 crashes happen because drivers got behind the wheel while sleep deprived. Because of those crashes more than 1,100 people were killed and 71,000 injured.

Dr. Karin Johnson, Director of the Baystate Medical Center Sleep Clinic, told 22News getting fewer than seven hours of sleep a night can lead to being sleep-deprived or fatigued. “It causes decrease in judgment, as well as we can have micro-sleeps where someone falls asleep for just a millisecond, but if you’re driving 60 miles per hour down the road you can suddenly end up on the wrong side of the road or in the back of someone’s car,” Johnson told 22News.

She also said that the longer you go with too little sleep the worse you become at gauging when it’s safe to drive.

Your best defense is prioritize sleep so you can up your the number of hours you get each night, on a regular basis.

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