Retailers Insurance Company is a Michigan-based insurer established by Michigan Retailers Association. Currently, Retailers Insurance provides workers’ compensation insurance and group dental insurance to Michigan businesses of all types and sizes.
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Drowsy driving doubles risk
New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that drivers who miss between 1 and 2 sleep hours, out of the recommended 7 in a 24-hour period, nearly double their risk for a crash.
That’s especially concerning in view of the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 35 percent of U.S. drivers get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
Drowsy driving, AAA says, is involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year. Notes David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation, “You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel. Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than 5 hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.”
Drivers who missed 2 to 3 hours of sleep more than quadrupled the risk of a crash. The research also found that over a 24-hour period, the crash risk for sleep-deprived drivers increased steadily, compared to that of drivers who slept 7 or more hours.
Drivers seem to know the perils of taking the wheel while sleepy. While 97 percent told the AAA Foundation they view drowsy driving as completely unacceptable and a serious threat to their safety, nearly one in three admits to driving at least once in the past month when being so tired it was difficult keeping their eyes open.
Signs of drowsy driving include drifting from lanes and not remembering the last few miles driven. Especially scary is the fact that more than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel.
AAA urges drivers not to rely on their body to indicate they’re at risk. Instead, make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep. For longer trips, AAA recommends that drivers:
- Travel at a time when they’re normally awake;
- Schedule a break every 2 hours or every 100 miles;
- Travel with an alert passenger and take turns at the wheel;
- Avoid heavy foods; and
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.