Are You Asleep at the Wheel?

Too little sleep can cause major health problems, including fatal car accidents

Up to 70 million Americans get too little sleep  and it’s contributing to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. I’ve created an audio CD about sleep and your health as part of my 6 CD Health Accelerator series.

Are You Asleep at the Wheel?1But there’s one way that too little sleep can kill you quickly: falling asleep at the wheel. A study by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) which was a collaboration between the CDC and the National Center on Sleep Disorders Re-search found that 4.7% of Americans reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the pre-ceding month. That’s 1 in 20 drivers.

Drivers who tailgate your trunk, weave around the road, or demonstrate road rage could be one of those sleepy drivers. That’s why 1,500 people die yearly from drowsy driving and 40,000 more have non-fatal injuries.

About 1 in 20 drivers reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month

If you find your eyes getting heavy, or you can’t remember what happened over the last few exits, or you find yourself opening the window for more air or turning up the radio, listen to your body. Find a safe place to pull over and either rest a few minutes or take a short stretch. Doing this every 100 miles or every two hours is a great idea in general.

Driving during the day and avoiding those all night marathon drives is another great way to stay safe. Having a buddy drive with you to help you stay awake can save your life . Remember, driving a two-ton vehicle at 60 or more miles per hour, you might only get one chance to fall asleep at the wheel.