I Have Narcolepsy, Is It Safe To Drive?

Being narcoleptic can certainly take a toll on one’s life. From cooking and operating heavy machinery to going for long walks and working long shifts, having narcolepsy can drastically interfere with a person’s day-to-day activities. However, driving long distances may be something they may never be fully able to do.

At least one in five fatal motor vehicle accidents involves drowsy driving, U.S. traffic safety experts say. So, for narcoleptics, it’s vital that you recognize when you’re sleepy behind the wheel.

“The statistics are pretty jarring. Compared to drivers who report typically getting seven or more hours of sleep nightly, those who typically sleep only four to five hours per night are 5.4 times more likely to be involved in a crash,” said Benjamin McManus, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Drowsy driving can be considered a form of distracted driving. Like in distracted drivers, [mental] resources are directed away from the task of driving in drowsy drivers,” McManus said in a university news release.

Signs of sleepiness while driving include