Clemson Agricultural Safety

Safety Information – November 2021

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation can affect driving in many ways. It can make the driver less attentive, slow the driver’s reaction time, and affect their ability to make decisions. When experiencing sleep deprivation, it is much easier to make costly mistakes because of a slowed reaction time. This leads to an increase in injury.

Drowsy driving is a problem across all of the United States and affects many farmers. Drowsy driving causes nearly 6,000 fatal crashes each year and a total of 83,000 crashes. It is important to remember to always get sleep and that if you are too tired to drive, turn the wheel over to someone else.

Drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving. Being awake for 18 hours is the equivalent of someone having a blood alcohol content of 0.05%. Being awake for 24 hours is the equivalent of someone having a blood alcohol content of 0.10%. This is higher than the legal limit of 0.08% BAC in all states.

Ways to prevent drowsy driving are:

Get enough sleep. The average adult requires a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a day.
Stick to a sleep schedule and develop good sleeping habits.
Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you sleepy before driving or operating equipment.

The effects of drowsy driving do not only affect those who operate motor vehicles; they also affect those operating combines and various other farm equipment. Working long hours during harvest season can result in sleep deprivation for farmers.

Information courtesy of the CDC

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