Sleepless on the highway

Drivers’ risk of crashing jumps with each hour of sleep lost

For drivers, losing a little sleep is a big deal. According to new research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, missing just one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly doubles a motorist’s risk of crashing. Not only that, about 35 percent of U.S. drivers get less than seven hours of sleep, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here’s how the risk of an accident corresponds with sleep deprivation:

Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times more likely to crash

Five to six hours: 1.9 times

Four to five hours: 4.3 times

Less than four hours: 11.5 times

For longer trips, AAA recommends that drivers travel at times when they’re normally awake; schedule a break every 100 miles or so; avoid eating heavy food; travel with an alert passenger; take turns driving; and avoid medications that cause drowsiness.