You (hopefully) wouldn’t dream of getting behind the wheel after having alcoholic drinks. Driving while overtired can be just as dangerous. According to the CDC, operating a vehicle after 18 straight hours of no sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content of .05. This is dangerously close to the legal limit of .08. Many people don’t know that a lack of sleep affects your body in the same way as alcohol by decreasing your coordination and alertness, and increasing response time.
Many of us have experienced the drowsy lullaby effect that driving can provide. You zone out and then snap back into it and you are at your destination without even realizing how you got there. Maybe you are just tired from a long day, but if you find yourself constantly nodding off and fatigued, you may have obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is well known for causing daytime fatigue, slow reaction times, and memory issues. If you have sleep apnea there is a good chance that you have found yourself driving while dangerously drowsy. No matter the cause, impaired driving can be deadly. In fact, nearly 100,000 traffic accidents are caused by drowsy driving each year.
To prevent accidents from happening, make sure to get the proper amount of sleep before you get behind the wheel. If you find yourself nodding off, pull over. Call someone that will be able to help you get where you are going. Don’t drive after taking medication that causes drowsiness. If you continue to find yourself excessively fatigued, schedule a sleep apnea evaluation with our dentist.
Sleep apnea can be evaluated and diagnosed by a trained dental professional. Correcting the apnea may be as simple as making an oral appliance that can open up your airway as you sleep. Sleep apnea can be detrimental to your health as it prevents your body and brain from getting the proper amount of oxygen several times throughout the night.
If you feel you may have sleep apnea, give our Glen Burnie, MD dental office a call for a simple evaluation with our doctor. Don’t let drowsy driving compromise both your safety and the safety of others.