Sleep Medicine

NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester

Sleep Medicine

Formerly Lawrence Hospital

Sleep and Drowsy Driving

Did you know?

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 100,000 traffic accidents can be attributed to “drowsy driving”.
  • Over 1,500 people die each year and over 70,000 are injured in drowsy driving accidents.
  • Drowsy driving costs American motorists nearly $13 billion in losses.

Quick Facts

  • Most “drowsy driving” crashes happen between the hours of midnight and 6:00 AM.
  • Crashes frequently involve a single vehicle leaving the roadway.
  • Crashes often occur on a long, high-speed roadway with the driver not attempting to avoid the crash.
  • The driver is usually alone in the vehicle.

Risk Factors

  • Sleep loss, even as little as one hour less, can cause marked drowsiness.
  • Use of sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, or consumption of alcohol.
  • Driving long hours with few or no breaks.
  • Driving between the hours of midnight and 6:00 AM with no other passengers awake in the vehicle.
  • Undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders causing sleep loss or insufficient sleep.


  • Avoid alcohol - Aside from the obvious dangers, alcohol increases drowsiness.
  • Avoid taking sedatives - Most are fast acting and may take affect before you are safely home.
  • Find a safe place to sleep - Although a short nap can have short term effect, it is best to get proper rest.
  • Have some coffee or caffeinated soda - Some studies show short term benefit from caffeine.

Speak with your doctor about problems falling or staying asleep, feelings of un-restorative sleep or snoring with periods of gasping. Your doctor may recommend an overnight sleep study to diagnose a possible sleep disorder.

The Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester is a state-of-the-art diagnostic center that provides the highest quality of care in a hotel-like setting under the direction of board certified physicians. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us at 914-787-4400.