Drowsy Driving Is Just As Bad As Drunk Driving – Know The Signs!

We all know the dangers of drunk driving. Have you ever thought about how dangerous it is to drive while you are tired? Drowsy driving is a legitimate concern. It is just as bad as drunk driving, or even worse in some instances. This is an issue that not many people worry about, which is why is makes it even more dangerous!

Drowsy driving compares to drunk driving
Photo Source: NHTSA

Drowsy Driving Happens More Often Than We Think

If we are on a long road trip, sometimes we get drowsy behind the wheel. Or maybe you would a double and dead tired, so that drive home can be rough. AAA reported that the number of crashes involving drowsiness is almost eight times higher than federal estimates indicate. To take it even further, a poll was done by the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America. They found that 60 percent of adults admitted to driving drowsy. Also, 37 percent admitted to having fallen asleep at the wheel. 

Drowsy Driving Compared To Drunk Driving

When people are driving drowsy, there are a few things it affects. Maureen Short, a Human Factors Expert and Senior Safety Engineer for Chevrolet, said, “Drowsy driving causes a few things: one, you’re going to have a delayed reaction, and that is critical when you’re driving … to be able to respond if you have an unexpected event. The second thing is that your decision making is impaired.”

To show the comparison between drowsy driving and drunk driving, the National Sleep Foundation released another report. They stated that sleep deprivation can have similar effects on your body as drinking alcohol. They reported, “Being awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered drunk). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive — say, after a night where you just couldn’t fall asleep — it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10.”

Signs You Are Too Tired To Drive

We need to lower the number of accidents happening because of tired drivers. To do so, we need to start focusing on those signs from our bodies telling us we are tired. Here are four signs to know you are too tired to be behind the wheel:

  1. Yawning – Seems simple, but it’s an obvious sign. If you can’t stop yawning, it’s not a good time to get behind the wheel!
  2. Lane deviation – If you are driving and you keep going back and forth in the lane or you are drifting from lane to lane and/or driving on the rumble strips on the side of the road, you know it is time to pull over.
  3. Memory lapse – Short said, “If you don’t remember the last couple of exits or last couple of miles, you’re getting tired and need to stop.”
  4. Unsafe driving measures – Are you braking too much? Maybe frequent tailgating or other unsafe driving maneuvers? These are a sign that you may be dozing off behind the wheel and time to make a stop. This is especially true for active safety features, like lane keep assist, lane departure warning and others. If they have been engaged more than average for you, pull over.

Just know, drowsy driving can cause accidents, so treat it like you would treat drunk driving and don’t do it!