Why drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving

Driving fatigued and driving under the influence of alcohol have similar effects on the body, which makes drowsy driving so dangerous.

Most people in Tennessee realize that consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is dangerous. However, many people do not recognize that drowsy driving is nearly as dangerous as drunk driving, and that it threatens the lives of passengers, pedestrians and drivers every day.

The National Sleep Foundation states that drinking and driving and sleep deprivation are dangerous because they both have similar effects on the human body. For instance, having a blood alcohol content level of 0.05 is the equivalent to being awake for 18 hours straight and trying to drive. Additionally, having a BAC level of .10 is the same as trying to drive after being awake for a 24-hour period.

Who is more likely to drive drowsy?

Many people in Tennessee and the U.S. are guilty of driving even though they were too sleep deprived to do so. According to the NSF, approximately one-third of adults have fallen asleep at the wheel and 60 percent of adults in the U.S. have driven while feeling tired. Although many people have been severely fatigued while driving at some point, there are several groups of people who are more likely to drive drowsy:

  • Those who operate tow trucks, tractor trailers, buses or other commercial vehicles for a living
  • Shift workers, or those who work long shifts or the night shift
  • People who have untreated sleep disorders, like sleep apnea
  • Those who take medications regularly that cause drowsiness

Regardless of the situation, those who drive drowsy have a hard time paying attention to the road in front of them, have slower reaction times and have a difficult time making good decisions while behind the wheel.

The warning signs of drowsy driving

To avoid the potential chance of involvement in a drowsy driving accident, drivers should watch out for some of the signs that indicate they are too tired to drive. These signs include yawning or blinking frequently, missing turns or exits, drifting from the correct lane, having a hard time remembering what happened during the past few miles driven and hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road.

Although some drivers in Tennessee might be diligent about not driving while they feel fatigued, others may not be as aware and cause serious and injurious collisions. Those who were harmed in an accident caused by a negligent driver should contact an attorney in their area for assistance asserting their legal rights.