Driving on less than 5 hours sleep is equivalent of driving drunk

Apparently people need at least seven hours sleep a night to make driving safe

(Image credit: Garo/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock)

Apparently people need at least seven hours sleep a night to make driving safe

A new study in the US has found that drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours a night sleep are doubling their chances of being involved in a car accident. And, when you miss two or three hours of sleep, that risk is quadrupled. Yikes.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have said: '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 five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.' Not sleeping enough can heighten your 'fight or flight' response to stress which can lead you to judge situations badly. 

The study also looked into a sample of drivers and found that those who were sleep deprived were 11 times more likely to find themselves in a collision, compared to if they had had their recommended seven hours sleep. And as it's believed that driving tired is responsible for one in five car crashes that happen in the UK, it's time to take the subject more seriously.

Around one in three people admit that they've driven at least once in the past 30 days when they were tired and felt like keeping their eyes open was a struggle. The biggest excuse people gave to being guilty of doing this revolve around finding it difficult to maintain a steady sleep schedule alongside a decent work-life balance.

The scariest thing about falling asleep behind the wheel is that half of drivers who have been involved in these sorts of accidents reported having no symptoms of fatigue beforehand.

So, the only way to be safe is to ensure you're not tired or at risk of suffering from fatigue when you drive. Just Uber it instead, yeah?

Delphine Chui