You have likely heard about the dangers of drinking and driving but may not think twice about getting behind the wheel when you are tired or drowsy. However, each year, drowsy driving cases result in more than 100,000 accidents and over 1,500 fatalities.
Understanding the impact of drowsy driving and how it increases the risk of an accident can help you avoid finding yourself in this situation.
What is drowsy driving
Drowsy driving occurs when you drive while tired or fatigued. Several issues can cause this, including high-stress levels, staying up with children and medical problems (to name a few).
If you get behind the wheel while you are tired, you may experience poor judgment, delayed reaction times, the inability to judge speeds and distances and the inability to focus. In more serious cases, you may even fall asleep behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving vs. drunk driving
The impact of drowsy driving is much more severe than most people think. If you stay awake for over 18 hours, the impact on your body and thinking is the same as having a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.05%. Being awake for 24 hours is like having a 0.10% BAC (which is illegal). Due to the impact of drowsy driving, there are some situations where it is even more dangerous than drunk driving.
Unfortunately, poor sleep is a common problem among drivers today. In fact, it’s estimated that around 25% of adults in the U.S. don’t get enough sleep each day. Additionally, more than half of American adults have admitted to driving when they feel tired, according to a National Sleep Foundation survey.
Protecting yourself and others on the road
It’s best to avoid driving at all if you are sleepy. You have rights if you are involved in an accident with a fatigued driver. Getting to know your legal options will help you protect these rights.