Missing just two hours of sleep can double your risk of getting in a car crash
DETROIT (FOX 2) - Outfitted with 23 pounds of extra weight and goggles designed to periodically go blank, Natalie Spala climbed behind the wheel of a Chevy SUV.
Designed to simulate the effects that being tired can have on one's ability to drive, it can be a hard simulation to stomach.
"Oh, my heart was racing a little bit there," said the University of Michigan Dearborn senior.
AAA estimates that missing just two hours of sleep can double the risk of getting in an accident. As the weighted jacket simulates the feeling fighting back drowsiness, the goggles periodically blink every 10 seconds to show what the struggle of keeping your eyes open is like.
"You're just completely blank and you're completely lost, you have no idea where you are during that time," Spala said. "Like I said my heart was racing and it's tough, I mean it was not a good experience and I do not wanna experience that for real."
Studies show that 60 percent of drivers have experienced that for real. And with the added handicap of not enough sleep, safety is the first thrown out the window when it happens.
"We are really poor at judging how tired we are," said Maureen Short, a safety engineer for Chevrolet. "So in daylight saving time, we lost an hour of sleep. If you did not get as much sleep as you need, you will probably be driving impaired."
It's not just the twice-a-year time change that prevents us from getting enough sleep either. For Spala, it's her tenure in school that she factors in.
"I learned that it's definitely important to get those eight hours as a college student," Spala said, "it's hard to get those eight hours in but an experience like this it's definitely necessary."
Shorts advice to about to drive after not enough sleep? Don't drive.