Many people struggle to get more than six hours of sleep every night, which can be highly detrimental to your health over a prolonged period. To try to combat this issue, some turn to sleeping pills.

This may help them feel more rested, but there is a trade-off, especially for the elderly. Car accidents become far more common when sleeping pills are used at night, one study found.

The study in question looked at 2,000 people who were over 70 years old and reported using sleeping pills. To qualify, they needed to be active drivers who had been behind the wheel in the previous three months. Researchers then compared their accident stats with other individuals of the same age who didn’t use the pills. They looked at the 5-year collision rate in both cases.

The results came in and showed that those using the pills had a rate that was 46 percent higher than those who did not. Some outliers included women, with a crash rate that was 65 percent higher, and 80-year-olds who were using pills, with a crash rate that was a full 124 percent higher.

Therefore, the study suggests that elderly drivers who use sleeping pills, especially when they are 80 years old or when they are female drivers, could pose a significant risk to others on the highway. The report did not indicate that the drivers used the pills improperly, such as by taking one right before driving, which suggests that even drivers who think they’re safely using sleep aids could pose a threat.

Have you been hit by an elderly driver? If so, you must know what legal rights you have.

Source: Medical Daily, “Car Crashes More Likely For Older Adults Using Ambien And Other Sleeping Pills Containing Zolpidem,” Susan Scutti, accessed Jan. 24, 2018