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Are you too tired to drive safely?


People often underestimate just how much sleep they need as well as the negative effects associated with not getting enough sleep. In addition to increasing one’s risks of developing serious health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke; sleep deprivation has also been linked to impaired cognitive functioning and increased risks of being involved in an accident.

The National Sleep Foundation has deemed this week, Nov. 1-8, Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. This important topic is one that is often ignored and disregarded by the likely hundreds of thousands of sleep deprived drivers who travel along Connecticut's roads and highways each day. However, the statistics related to drowsy driving are hard to ignore and should compel even self-proclaimed night-owls to turn out the lights earlier and get more sleep.

According to the NSF, in order to remain alert and function normally, adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. While sleep is as essential as water and food to normal and health functioning, many people don't make sleep a priority and therefore don’t' get enough sleep.

In cases where an individual who is sleep deprived gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, he or she is more likely to cause or be involved in an accident. Consider these alarming statistics; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that, annually, roughly 100,000 traffic accidents are caused by drivers who are fatigued. As evidence of the public safety threat drowsy drivers pose, a 2008 poll indicated that a full 36 percent of Americans admitted to falling asleep while at the wheel.

Individuals who don't get enough sleep should not drive. Drowsy drivers are less attentive and focused and more likely to experience difficulty controlling a vehicle and reacting in emergency situations.

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