An in-depth study by AAA reveals that dozing off behind the wheel is a larger problem than we once thought.
In fact, researchers say one in 10 drivers crash as a result of being tired.
AAA came to the conclusion after studying video from more than 700 car accidents. During the study, about 3,600 volunteers agreed to put a camera on the dashboard of their vehicle between October 2010 and December 2013 while researchers monitored their driving habits. The results showed that the selected drivers were involved in more than 700 crashes, with drowsiness, or dozing off behind the wheel, factoring into 9.5% of those accidents.
That's nearly eight times higher than federal government data, which estimated that drowsy driving factored into about 1-2% of all car crashes.
The new findings prove that driving while tired is just as dangerous as distracted driving, which is to blame for one in 11 crashes.
While most drivers are aware of the dangers, with 96% of people saying that they think driving drowsy is a "serious threat", a third of drivers still admit to driving while drowsy.
Jake Nelson, AAA's Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research warns that falling short just two to three hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep per night can more than quadruple your chances of a car crash, which is the equivalent to drunk driving.
Rather than make up for lack of sleep with an extra cup of coffee, safety experts suggest taking a break from driving every couple of hours or taking 20-minute naps at rest stops during longer trips, or alternating between drivers.