Sometimes a quick click of the snooze button and five more minutes of rest can make a world of difference. Several days without enough sleep, or sleep deprivation, can create more than just a cranky mood or extra yawns. Not being well rested can also cause a serious collision.
Sleep deprivation affects everything
Sleep deprivation can take a physical and mental toll on you:
- Memory: You may forget specific directions to a destination, creating a mental distraction or even a manual distraction if you try to plug an address into the GPS.
- Thinking and concentration: Unexpected obstacles can seemingly appear out of nowhere, like collision scenes, detours and emergency vehicles, so a sharp focus is essential.
- Mood changes: On the road, a sleep-related mood change could translate to road rage. Acts angsty drivers take, like speeding, tailing and cutting cars off, can all cause an accident.
- Drowsiness: The most apparent effect of a lack of sleep is most likely drowsiness. So, if a driver feels tired, they should recharge while off the road so they don’t wind up putting themselves or others at risk of injury or death.
A late night or early morning can creep up here and there, but it is essential to understand how vital healthy sleep habits are.
Habits of a mindful driver
Getting more sleep keeps the roads safer. Not being mentally present may lead to a disastrous outcome—one you may not even live to see. At least seven hours of sleep at night is a standard recommendation for adults. But everyone is different, so it is essential to consult a physician on questions you have about what your body needs.
If you think a cup of coffee may solve your sleepiness, you should think again. Drinking caffeine can lower the quality of sleep you get and can even lead to sleep deprivation or sleep disorders. When drivers rely on coffee to get them through afternoon traffic or a night drive, it’s possible their headspace isn’t clear enough to navigate Virginia’s roadways.
However, your lifestyle choices may not be a problem. Compensation could be around the corner if you believe you recently collided with a drowsy driver.