A new study by the AAA has revealed that deaths due to drowsy driving is ten times higher than reported.

The report shows 18 percent of all traffic fatalities between 2017 and 2021 were estimated to involve a drowsy driver, accounting for 30,000 deaths.

These figures are far higher than official government statistics, which the AAA says highlights the underreported nature of drowsy driving crashes.

The AAA’s study is based on indepth crash investigations and national fatal crash data.

According to the organization, just one hour less than the expert-recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep increases a driver’s risk of crashing.

The AAA has issued the following advice to drivers to stay safe on the road:

  • Get enough sleep before driving. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.
  • Travel at times of the day when you are normally awake. Avoid driving when you are tired or sleepy.
  • Take breaks every two hours or 100 miles. Get out of the car, stretch your legs, and get fresh air. Plan and identify safe, comfortable places to take breaks. Don’t wait until you’re already feeling drowsy.
  • Avoid heavy meals before driving. Eating a large meal can make you feel tired and sluggish.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Both can impair your driving ability. Besides harming driving directly, they can also amplify drowsiness.
  • Listen to your body. If you start to feel tired, pull over and take a break. Don’t try to push through it.
  • Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving. Sharing the driving can help you stay awake and alert.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a quick nap. A 20- to 30-minute nap can significantly improve your alertness.