The link between exhaustion and car accidents in Georgia and across the country has been well documented. In fact, organizations like the National Sleep Foundation have urged motorists to avoid drowsy driving because of the increased risk it poses to others. Now, researchers are taking a look at how chronic sleep problems like insomnia can lead to devastating accidents.
The National Institutes of Health points out that people who have insomnia have higher rates of accidents in a variety of settings, including at home, at work and while in the car. The NIH published a study that found that roughly 9 percent of participants admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once, and another 4.1 percent claimed they had been involved in an accident due to their sleepiness.
Another report published in Sleep evaluated how the symptoms of insomnia were linked to putting people at risk of a car accident. Those symptoms included the following:
- Having difficulty falling asleep
- Getting sleep that is not restful
- Experiencing problems staying asleep
The study showed that when at least three symptoms of insomnia are present, the subject is almost three times more likely to incur a fatal injury than those who have no symptoms. People who reported having frequent trouble falling asleep were more than twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than people who never have trouble falling asleep.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that unintentional injury deaths, such as fatal car accidents, are the fifth leading cause of death in the country. Experts pose that identifying and treating insomniacs can go a long way toward preventing these fatalities.