Have you heard of sleep-driving?  Sleep and driving are two words that we should never hear together, yet if you ask a truck driver about it, they'll know exactly what you're talking about.

I had an extremely troubling conversation with someone this week and as a public service, I'm going to share it with you. When the following words came out of his mouth, you should know that he wasn't just speaking for himself, he was shedding light on a problem so big that I’m now afraid to commute to work.

The conversation started with me telling a long-haul truck driver (who wants to remain anonymous) that he can listen to our show no matter where he drives in the country if he listens through our radio station app.  Then I asked him how he is able to stay awake on those long deliveries and he frankly said, “sometimes I don’t”.  Ummm, what?!?! He explained that it is called sleep-driving and it is not uncommon.

I can’t believe what I’m hearing so I asked, “you don’t mean you close your eyes and fall asleep while behind the wheel do you?”  He said no, it's not that blatant but I definitely go into a trance. It's like my brain is on cruise control and part of my brain is resting but my eyes stay open. I’m conscious enough to stay straight and keep it moving, but I’m definitely asleep on some level. There are times when he said he gets to a destination and doesn't remember how he got there.  He also says he is far from alone.

While it's not REM sleep, it's still sleep and that is scary stuff.

I started Googling this subject and I could not believe my eyes.  Apparently “sleep-driving” is an estimated 328,000 crashes every year.

According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety,  more than one in five fatal accidents involve a sleepy driver. All the experts say that driving in a trance is as dangerous as drunk driving.  If you go 21 hours with no sleep, you will drive like your blood alcohol level is at 0.08% which is higher than the legal limit in all 50 states!

Just hearing that professional long-haul drivers have coined “sleep-driving” as a common term is proof that this an epidemic. I'm curious if this is happening beyond professional drivers.  Have you ever caught yourself sleep-driving?  Shannon.holly@townsquaremedia.com.

More than 70 million Americans are sleep-deprived.  We are over-worked and under-rested. The scary part is we share the roads. Be careful out there!

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