As a truck driver, have you ever had the experience of slamming back coffees or turning your AC on full blast just to stay awake while you’re driving? You might think your sleepiness is just normal fatigue, but you may be surprised to discover your daytime drowsiness is actually due to untreated sleep apnea. Keep reading to discover the dangers of driving with untreated sleep apnea and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe on the road.
Sleep Apnea: An Untreated Epidemic Among Truckers
Although the rate of sleep apnea amongst the general population ranges from 2-4%, that rate skyrockets among truckers where it’s been estimated that up to 28% of all truck drivers may suffer from this condition.
And it’s not just a coincidence that those who drive for a living are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Some of the factors that put one at risk of developing sleep apnea include:
- Being male
- Being over the age of 40
- Having a large neck circumference
So is it any surprise that truck drivers, who spend long periods of time sitting, experience an irregular sleeping schedule, are more likely to smoke than the average person, and tend to eat travel meals while on the road, are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea?
The Dangers of Driving with Sleep Apnea
Unfortunately, many drivers don’t get tested for sleep apnea, even if they suspect they have it because they’re afraid if their employer finds out then they’ll lose their job. Luckily, an employer can’t fire you or decide not to hire you because of a sleep apnea diagnosis as dictated under The Americans With Disabilities Act.
That being said, if you do suspect you have sleep apnea then you need to get tested to avoid putting yourself and others on the road in danger. Drivers with untreated sleep apnea have a preventable crash rate that is 5 times higher than truckers without sleep apnea.
The reason you’re more likely to get into an accident with untreated sleep apnea is because sleep apnea contributes to experiencing daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and impaired working memory and attention. And considering 20% of all large truck crashes occur because of a fatigued or sleepy driver, it’s no wonder that sleep apnea could be a main contributor to dangerous driving.
Being a Responsible Driver
Therefore, in order to keep yourself and others safe on the road, consider getting a sleep study done to determine whether you have sleep apnea or not. You may be resistant to taking time off of work for a sleep study, but there’s no need to worry since you can order a sleep study online that can be shipped to you with minimal hassle!
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to driving with sleep apnea! Determining whether you have sleep apnea or not via a simple sleep kit will ensure you remain a safe driver for the safety of yourself and those around you.