If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you are at a higher risk when behind the wheel. You likely wake up and feel tired in the morning, no matter how much sleep you get.
Sleep apnea causes you to stop and restart breathing overnight, sometimes hundreds of times. While the breathing interruptions don’t wake you up, they will prevent you from falling into a deep and restful sleep, which can impact your ability to drive safely.
What the research says
A study has shown the dangers of chronic tiredness when driving. For every eight breathing interruptions an hour, the odds of dangerous driving actions, such as braking hard, accelerating suddenly or speeding, increase by up to 27%.
Who is most at risk for sleep apnea?
Older individuals have the highest risk of developing sleep apnea. They are also more likely to be involved in an accident that results in their death or a serious injury. Older adults need to be screened for sleep apnea and receive treatment, which can help them stay safe on the road and ensure they can drive longer.
However, younger people may experience tiredness from sleep apnea, too. If you suspect this may be a problem, you should see your doctor and seek treatment.
The dangers of drowsy driving
Driving while you are tired has been compared to driving while intoxicated. It’s a dangerous thing to do and can result in serious accidents, injuries and fatalities. You have legal rights if you are involved in an accident with a drowsy driver. One of these rights is to recover compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and other damages that occur due to the accident.