The dangers of driving with sleep apnea

On Behalf of | May 16, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Drowsy driving has long been a problem in many auto accidents in Illinois. Many drivers use the roadways following a bad night of rest out of sheer necessity, and truck drivers also drive long shifts that leave them very tired near the end. This combination means that there is any number of sleep-deprived motorists on Illinois highways at any time. But what if they are suffering from a serious health condition? Sleep apnea is one of those conditions that many people suffer from that could cause drowsy driving at any time as well, if not actually falling asleep at the wheel. And it can be very dangerous for everyone on the road.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that results in a lack of sleep for many individuals. It is also associated with snoring while sleeping, even to the point of an actual stoppage of the heart due to interrupting normal breathing during the sleep cycle in more serious patients. And statistics have shown that many of those with the condition are involved in motor vehicle accidents at an alarming rate on America’s highways.

The highway dangers of these drivers

Many people who suffer from sleep apnea do not seek treatment because they accept that their snoring is a natural occurrence during sleep. In fact, many do not even realize that they snore unless someone in the household informs them afterward. The problem is that those who worsen over the course of time also develop daytime drowsiness that studies have shown decreases the ability to react to driving situations. This in turn ultimately could be contributing to an increased number of auto accidents.

It should also be noted that most people who suffer from sleep apnea are advancing in age, which could also be a factor in the increased number of accidents involving those over age 50. For the many Illinois residents who are still active and commute to work regularly, it is a good personal decision to seek medical attention for the condition. When it comes to taking to the highway, it could be a serious safety concern for everyone.