Lack of sleep increases car crash risk

Sleep critical to safe driving
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 20:25:33-05

DENVER--We know booze can impact your skills on the street, now new research in the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report shows a lack of sleep can be just as dangerous.

“People that are sleep deprived drive a lot like a drunk driver.  The same reactions, the same weaving, they look the same behind the wheel," said Wave Dreher, AAA Colorado spokeswoman.

What's intriguing is the risk:

Six to seven hours of sleep: 1.3 times the crash risk

Five to six hours of sleep: 1.9 times the crash risk

Four to five hours of sleep: 4.3 times the crash risk

Less than four hours of sleep: 11.5 times the crash risk

"So it's not just the people that have pulled an all-nighter that are at risk for having a crash. It's people that have just gotten an hour less sleep than they're used to getting," said Dreher.  "The crash data that Triple A looked at were crashes that sent somebody that was involved in the crash to the emergency room."              

97% of drivers said they know the danger.

"I've definitely had moments where I've closed my eyes for a second and thought nope that's not a good idea," said driver Emily Lewis 

Lewis is planning a drive from Colorado to Kansas.              

"There's usually a spot where I get sleepy, little bit, and that's usually about the time I pull off and get lunch or get gas," she said.