One of the potentially deadly impacts of sleep apnea is that it can increase your risk of a serious car accident. In fact, it can increase your car accident risk five times. Sleep apnea is partly dangerous because most people who have it don’t know they have it.
But it does leave tell-tale hints that can warn you about your risk, if you pay attention. Here are some of the signs that can warn you about your sleep apnea, before you get in an accident.
You Don’t Remember Your Drive
As a general rule, daily commutes are not memorable. Unless you’re like the narrator of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, you’re probably not looking to remember something every day. But you should still be able to recall at least a few details of the drive when you get home. This is a basic test of attentiveness. If you can’t remember any details of your drive when you get home, you were probably unfocused and inattentive for much of the drive.
You Take Wrong Turns
You can also know that you’re inattentive on the drive home if you’re taking wrong turns. You should know your way and should be paying enough attention to make it from work to home without any mistakes. If you do find yourself making wrong turns on routine trips, it may be that sleep apnea is making you doze off.
You Forget Errands or Appointments
Sleep apnea can impact your memory and focus. For many people, this starts to show up as minor lapses. You may not pay attention when someone asks you to do something after work, or you just forget that they asked.
If you find that you’re missing appointments or forgetting to do errands on your way home from work, it may be a sign that you have sleep apnea.
You Get Honked at More Than Usual
While it’s true that everyone on I-25 is a little more horn-happy than we used to be, the odds are still good that if you’re getting honked at a lot more than you used to be, it’s probably because you’re driving differently.
Are you cutting off more people when changing lanes? Are you forgetting to go when caught in stop-and-go traffic? Maybe the light turned green and you didn’t notice it. These are all signs of inattentive driving, and they’re exactly the sort of lapse that occurs for people with sleep apnea.
Are you slamming your brakes more often than you used to? Whether this is causing your tires to squeal or your ABS to shudder, it’s not a good sign. Having to hit the brakes harder than in the past is usually an indication that your attention isn’t focused on the road.
If this is happening regularly, it’s only a matter of time until your attention lapses too much and you can’t actually stop.
Not paying attention to your driving can cause you to get pulled over for many reasons. You might not know how fast you’re going. You might run a light or a stop sign because you weren’t paying attention. You may drift out of your lane.
If an officer pulls you over, they might think that you’re driving under the influence. And they’re not exactly wrong. Driving when sleepy can be as bad as driving while drunk.
Avoid an Accident with Sleep Apnea Treatment
The good news is that you don’t have to let this condition go until you have an accident. We can stop it. Sleep apnea treatment is successful at reducing the accident risk of drivers with the condition.
If you have sleep apnea in Denver, please get treatment before you have an accident. To learn how comfortable, convenient sleep apnea treatment can help you, please call (303) 691-0267 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the TMJ Treatment and Sleep Center of Colorado.