OSA and Car Accidents

If you think that your obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis has nothing to do with driving, think again.

Did you know that people with sleep apnea are twice as likely to be involved in a car accident? A lot of this has to do with the fact that so many people with sleep apnea are undiagnosed and untreated, and as a result they feel extremely tired during the day.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sleep deprivation is a cause of 100,000 car accidents each year. Your reaction time when you are sleepy is just as slow as if you were drunk. Scary, right?

Just last December, a Metro-North train in New York derailed, causing multiple injuries and four deaths. An investigation later revealed that the train engineer suffered from severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and had passed out at the time of the accident. His condition was, unfortunately undiagnosed at the time.

This is why it is important for you to be aware of your symptoms and seek medical help if you think you are suffering from sleep apnea. Some of the effects that being sleep deprived can have on your driving are:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Impaired judgement
  • Impaired your memory and ability to retain information
  • If you have trouble focusing on the road and/or if you keep b
  • Repeatedly yawning and rubbing your eyes
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from lane to lane
  • Feeling restless and irritable

Driving when you are sleepy is never okay, and has many repercussions with it. Recognising the signs and symptoms and being aware of your symptoms is extremely important in a proper diagnosis. It could save your life, or somebody else’s.