You’ve been doing your best to keep your exhaustion hidden – no matter how much you sleep at night, you can never seem to get enough rest, and are constantly fatigued the next day. But when you found yourself starting to drift off while driving, you knew something was seriously wrong. After working with the team at Nelson Dentistry and Dental Sleep Medicine, you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea in Wesley Chapel. In this post, Dr. Jay Nelson explains how driving while sleepy is just as bad as driving while intoxicated – and he offers help to treat this common disorder.
Why Is Drowsy Driving As Dangerous As Drunk Driving?
Did you know that each year, sleep apnea causes 72,000 car accidents? Since people with sleep apnea often struggle chronic exhaustion and fatigue, many doze off while driving. Drowsiness while behind the wheel can impair your ability to operate heavy machinery (like your car) and can negatively impact you – and the drivers around you – in the following ways:
- Slowing your reaction time
- Making you less able to pay attention to the road
- Negatively affecting your ability to make good decisions while driving
- Causing you to fall asleep at the wheel
Falling asleep while driving can be scary and have serious consequences – each year, up to 6000 fatal car crashes occur due to drowsy driving. According to the CDC, these numbers are eerily similar to those of accidents caused by drunk driving.
If you find yourself with any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, take this quiz and follow up with us for treatment – and always pull over if you feel sleepy when driving. It only takes a second of nodding off behind the wheel to have permanent, lasting effects on your life.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Drowsy Driving?
Many people may not even realize that they’re putting themselves in danger by falling asleep while driving. Pay attention to the following signs, and reach out to Dr. Nelson for care if this sounds like you:
- Frequent yawning or blinking
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles you’ve driven
- Missing your exit
- Drifting from your lane
- Running over a rumble strip on the side of the road
How Can You Help Prevent Accidents From Drowsy Driving?
Many patients with sleep apnea discontinue using their sleep machines because these devices are uncomfortable or awkward. But, with custom oral appliance therapy (also known as COAT), you can continue the crucial treatment you need with a comfortable CPAP alternative in Wesley Chapel.
Wearing this custom-made appliance that looks like a mouthguard while you sleep will shift your lower jaw and tongue out of the way, opening your airway and allowing you to breathe easy while you sleep. And, COAT is as effective as it is comfortable – it works well for about 80% of patients.
Now that you why drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, and that we can help prevent car accidents by treating your sleep apnea with a comfortable CPAP alternative, schedule your appointment with Nelson Dentistry and Dental Sleep Medicine!