The latest studies indicate that many of today’s teenagers are getting a minimum of two hours less of sleep at night than what their body requires. This can put them at serious risk of falling asleep behind the wheel of their car and getting into an accident.
The research taken has shown that approximately 50 percent of teens between the ages of 10 and eighteen go to sleep at night after 10 p.m. Parents complain that while it can be difficult to get their teen to bed at a reasonable time, they also find it even more of a challenge to get them up in the morning for school.
Sleep Deprivation and Vehicle Accidents
Drowsy driving is a serious problem and out of 100,000 vehicle crashes each year, you’ll find that half of those accidents are caused by sleep deprived teens. Because sleepy driving fails to show up on an autopsy report, the numbers behind the sleepiness crash statistics could rise even higher.
A fatal crash in North Carolina pointed to the dangers of driving drowsy when the vehicle crossed the center lane and hit an oncoming car. While many of today’s teens are warned against distracted driving, few people speak about the importance of getting enough sleep.
In the event of an accident of this kind, it is important to instruct your teen on how to handle this scenario. In addition, it may be a good idea to research or view legal websites that provide viewers with important accident tips, such as the Auger and Auger Law Firm.
Driving Impairment Related to Drowsy Driving
The loss of a good night’s sleep can affect the way your teen reacts and handles the vehicle. Because it can affect their driving impairment, your teen’s reflexes may be slow and cause difficulties in handling situations on the roadway.
Signs that you may be having difficulty staying awake can include the following:
- weaving out of traffic
- zombie-like appearance
There are also certain characteristics that showcase driving with limited sleep such as:
- a driver being the lone occupant in the vehicle,
- an accident occurs on a road at a high rate of speed
- the occupant driving the vehicle fails to avoid the accident
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
There are many causes of sleep deprivation for teens today. School studies, tests and college examinations can keep a teen occupied at all hours of the night. Teens are also prone to staying up late with friends on weekends and school nights. Exercise, video games and caffeine can also contribute to a restless night of sleep.
Tips for Parents and Teens
Parents can take an interactive role to ensure that their kids avoids driving while sleepy. They can begin this by ensuring that they follow a normal routine of getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night. While adolescents often go out on the weekends and stay up extra late, you can make sure they don’t deviate too far off the path on weekends.
If your child wants to sleep in on their days off, you can allow them only an hour or two. You can also limit their exposure to excessive activities late into the evening such as exercise, computer games and chats with friends. A good night’s sleep can make them refreshed in the morning and able to tackle responsible driving.
Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and concerned parent. As a mother to young drivers who are often looking for excuses to stay up past bedtime, she understands the importance of them getting the ample rest they need, even though they may not always agree. After viewing a legal video from Auger and Auger Law Firm , she found it was just as important to instruct them on how to conduct themselves in the event of an accident as it was to ensure they hit the bed on time.
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