Is Driving Drowsy as Bad as Drunk Driving?

Published on Apr 5, 2017 at 6:17 pm in Auto Accidents.

We’ve all gotten behind the wheel while tired after a long work day, but have you ever stopped to wonder about the implications of driving while drowsy? Driving while drowsy is inherently dangerous due to the fact that while drowsy, our reaction speeds and sense of judgement are both significantly impaired. If a car in front of our vehicle suddenly stops or swerves, if we’re drowsy, our reaction to that stop or swerve may come a second later than if we were fully alert.

When it comes to an accident, even a mere second or two can make the difference between avoiding the crash and slamming into another car. But how dangerous is dangerous? How often do car crashes really occur that involve drowsy drivers? Is driving drowsy as bad as drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs? Let’s examine the facts.

According to new studies and research findings from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, statistics show that driving while sleep deprived or drowsy is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. In short, the less amount of sleep an individual has while behind the wheel, the more riskier their driving behaviors become.

The studies conducted showed that an individual who even deprives themselves of one hour less of sleep than the recommended seven hours increases the chances of an accident. Hence, it can be inferred that driving while sleep deprived is not only dangerous to the driver, but to other drivers on the road. The study also found that the greatest increase of an accident while sleep deprived occurred during early morning hours.

According to Tom Calcagni from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Mid-Atlantic office, “The crash risk associated with having slept less than 4 hours of sleep is comparable to the crash risk associated with a blood alcohol content of roughly 0.12-0.15.” Therefore, the association of lack of sleep and increase of risk of accident in comparison to a drunk driver is valid in the sense of cognitive functioning and alertness of the driver.

Per estimates provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving was responsible for 800 deaths, 72,000 accidents, and 44,000 injuries nationwide in 2013. The dangers of driving while drowsy are very real and occur much more often than many drivers would like to believe.

Avoiding getting behind the wheel while drowsy is quite simple. By getting enough sleep, avoiding driving when feeling sleepy, and by avoiding drugs or alcohol that may make us feel sleepy, we can avoid causing a crash unnecessarily.

For more tips or to speak to a Paducah, KY car accident lawyer after being involved in a serious car crash with a driver who may have been distracted and/or drowsy, get in touch with Daryl T. Dixon today. Our law office can help you obtain justice and receive peace of mind.

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