Many of us make light of that relatively short drive home. But getting behind the wheel when you’re sleepy can cost lives and lead to imprisonment and a hefty fine.
Drowsy drivers number in the millions. In a 2011 National Sleep Foundation poll, 60 percent of adults said they had driven at least once while drowsy, and 37 percent admitted to have actually fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. AAA reports that one in six fatal traffic accidents results from drowsy driving.
Drivers are most vulnerable to drowsiness from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., when their circadian rhythm – which regulates periods of sleepiness and wakefulness – dips. The circadian rhythm also prompts people to feel drowsy in diminishing daylight.
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