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Drowsiness at the wheel

Man yawning whilst driving

Driving demands sustained and close attention, something that is not always possible for people who suffer from sleep apnoea.

Patients with sleep apnoea are 6 times more likely to have a car accident¹, with a reaction time similar to a blood alcohol level of .06 - .08 BAC². We are all responsible for recognising our own limits and behaving responsibly at the wheel.

Tips to be aware of

  •  Measure your state of drowsiness using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and consult your doctor
  •  Always get enough sleep on the night before a long drive
  •  Don’t drive for long periods at night
  •  If you feel drowsy, stop and take a break as quickly as possible
  •  Careful treatment of sleep apnoea syndrome significantly reduces the risk of drowsiness at the wheel and, therefore, accidents
  • Drivers of heavy vehicles can go to a sleep centre to test their ability to stay awake in monotonous situations

And always obey the road safety rules. Stop every two hours, or even more often,

As soon as the first signs appear!

References

1. Terán-Santos, J., Jimenez-Gomez, A., & Cordero-Guevara, J. (1999). The Association between Sleep Apnea and the Risk of Traffic Accidents. New England Journal of Medicine, 340(11), 847-851. Doi: 10.1056/nejm199903183401104

2. Powell, N., Schechtman, K., Riley, R., Li, K., Troell, R., & Guilleminault, C. (2001). The Road to Danger: The Comparative Risks of Driving While Sleepy. The Laryngoscope, 111 (5), 887-893. doi: 10.1097/00005537-200105000-00024