It’s a pretty safe assumption to say that most people know that taking sleeping pills and then driving is a dangerous combination. However, did you know that the pills you take at night can affect the way you drive the next day? A new study reported in Sleep Medicine showed that Ambien users are more likely to become involved in crashes than those who don’t take the popular sleep aid. But a certain age group seems to be the most affected by the driving dangers: seniors.
Which Drivers Are At Risk
Researchers took a look at the five-year driving records of 2,000 Alabama drivers, age 70 and older, who used Ambien, and compared their driving habits to those who did not. Senior women who used Ambien had a 61 percent higher chance of becoming involved in crash over the five year period than a woman who did not take the sleeping medication. Additionally, the accident risk was more than twice as high for drivers over the age of 80.
Research also showed that new Ambien users, regardless of their ages, were twice as likely to get into accidents than those who do not take the drug. The same is also true for those who take the similar sleeping aids Restoril and trazodone.
The Reasons for the Increased Risk
Although the study took a look at how Ambien increases the risks of getting into accidents, it didn’t go into the reasons why it does. One can speculate, however, that the medication can cause drowsiness among users that can last until the next day. The drowsiness could cause the drivers to fall asleep behind the wheel or experience decreased reaction time. Additionally, sleep aid users may not receive the recommended amount of sleep after taking the pill, which is at least seven or eight hours. Lastly, the accidents could be due to the Ambien’s reaction with other medications seniors may be taking. Researchers also speculate that the Ambien could have more of an effect on senior drivers than it does on those who are younger. The effects of the medication may also last longer, which could cause problems with staying awake and focusing while driving the next day.
What Seniors Can Do to Keep Themselves—and Others—Safe
Seniors are one of the largest age groups that take sleeping aids. Quite often it is due to anxiety or other medical problems, such as dementia. Instead of taking sleeping aids, they may be able to engage in other activities that could help them sleep, such as exercise, meditation, and relaxation techniques. If sleeping pills are a necessity, seniors could consider taking other brands that may have shorter-lived effects. Trying a new medication that doesn’t cause drowsiness the next day could prevent accidents from taking place. All medications should be taken under a doctor’s care, particularly when taking other medication as well. Additionally, making sure that the senior receives as much sleep as is recommended may prevent him from falling asleep while driving the next day, or feeling drowsy.
Ambien’s Storied History
This isn’t the first time Ambien has made headlines. Soon after the drug was released, users began to complain of engaging in activities they didn’t remember while under the sleeping aid’s effects. Some of the most disturbing were sleep walking and even sleep driving. Users would get in their vehicles and go for drives while still sleeping. As you can imagine, not only is such an act frightening but it is quite disturbing, as well.
Austin Accident Victims Can Get the Representation They Deserve
No matter who you are, being an accident victim can hurt you both physically and financially. And although every accident is bad, it can feel even worse when caused by a drowsy driver who was under the effects of a sleeping pill. If this happened to you, it’s important to know that you have rights and the attorneys of Wayne Wright will help you fight for them. We have helped many Austin accident victims get the compensation they deserved, and may be able to do the same for you. Contact us today by calling 800-237-3334 and learn how you may receive compensation for medical bills, vehicle repairs, and time lost from work.