Sleepy people and people with attention deficit have increased risk of accidents
Why do sleepy people and people with attention deficit (ADD, ADHD) have about an equal increase in risk of motor vehicle accidents? Normal people who are texting or using the cell phone (even hands-free) also have a higher risk of accidents. As do teenagers (beginning drivers) with passengers. I believe the common problem is inattention.
People with attention deficit are inattentive anyway. Normal people who are distracted by cell phones, texting or conversations with passengers are no longer directing their full attention to driving. People who are sleepy do not necessarily doze off and have an accident. As they become drowsy, they become inattentive to their surroundings.
Drive more safely!
To drive more safely, it is important for normal people to pay attention. They should not let themselves be distracted by texting, cell phone use, or conversations. This is even truer of patients whose attention is impaired anyway, by attention deficit or sleepiness. Patients with attention deficit should have their inattention well treated. Don’t just accept a partial response. Patients with disorders of sleepiness (such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and idiopathic hypersomnia) should have their sleep disorder well treated. Everyone should get enough time in bed (7-9 hours a night for adults) so they do not makes themselves sleepy and inattentive by not getting enough time in bed. When driving, they should pull over if they are getting sleepy (unlike seizures, there is usually ample warning of impending sleepiness).
Remember, you don’t have to be inattentive. You can change your behaviors. You can get enough sleep and avoid distracting behaviors during driving. There is good and effective treatment for patients with attention deficit and for patients with disorders of excessive sleepiness. Certainly, we stand ready to help you.