Is Drowsy Driving as Dangerous as Drunk Driving?

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Driving while drowsy is extremely dangerous. While most people are aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated, many people tend to overlook how serious drowsy driving can be. Even without consuming alcohol, you can become a risk to yourself and others.


This type of driving occurs more frequently than you may expect. For example, imagine you are in the final stretch of a long car ride home. Rather than pulling into a roadside town and booking a hotel for the night, you decide to continue with the last few hours of your trip. It’s dark. You have been driving for hours. You haven’t gotten much sleep. The adrenaline from the coffee you bought five hours ago has definitely worn off or maybe it never kicked in. Without realizing it, you’ve dozed off. It was only for a split second, but long enough for you to accidentally swerve your car into the other lane and hit the car next to you.


This scenario, unfortunately, happens all too often. Even though it was “just an accident” and you “didn’t even consume alcohol” doesn’t mean it won’t be as fatal. Serious consequences can result from driving while drowsy.


When driving under the influence of alcohol, your senses are inhibited. For example, your vision is blurry and your sense of spatial awareness is extremely compromised. When you drive drowsy, the effects are different, but the results remain the same. Drowsy driving makes drivers less able to pay attention to the road, slows reaction time if you have to break or steer suddenly and negatively affects good decision making. Falling asleep at the wheel, even for a moment, means all your senses are completely inhibited.


One reason why drunk driving may be seen as more dangerous is because there are legal ramifications associated with it. Additionally, after a drunk driving accident, there are medical examinations, social ramifications and attorneys often on both sides who are working to understand the situation more fully. Just because drowsy driving cannot be as easily traced after an accident, however, doesn’t mean it is not as dangerous.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes in 2013. And these numbers have continued to climb.


In order to prevent drowsy driving before taking the wheel, be sure to get enough sleep. Most adults need roughly seven hours of sleep per day, while teenagers typically need eight hours. Additionally, try to avoid driving in the late hours of the night. Your body will be more accustomed to sleeping during those times, and therefore you may be drowsier.


Just because you are not consuming alcohol and driving does not mean you are not a danger to yourself and others. Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous. For more information or for help on your case right here in Tallahassee, don’t wait to contact a member of our experienced legal team today!