Did you know that the United States sees around 100,000 crashes annually that are a result of drowsy driving? According to the National Safety Council, drowsy driving contributes to around 9.5% of all collisions that happen across the nation.
This is one reason to be aware of the way you’re driving if you’re feeling tired. It’s also why you should keep a close eye on those who are driving around you.
Drowsy driving: Just as dangerous as alcohol
Drowsy driving mimics alcohol impairment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that if you drive when you haven’t slept for 18 hours, it’s similar to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of around .05%. That’s enough to significantly impair your ability to drive safely.
What’s surprising about the polls and studies performed is that people are willingly admitting to driving when they’re really too tired to do so. In one study by the American Automobile Association, 27% of people admitted to being so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open. Another one out of 25 admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving causes serious problems for drivers
Drowsy driving causes a number of effects, such as:
- An inability to focus
- Poor judgment
- Delayed reaction times
- Falling asleep behind the wheel
- Trouble judging speeds and distances
When drivers don’t get enough sleep, they are putting themselves and others at risk of a car crash. Even though driving while drowsy is unfortunately common, it is in your control to decide when you’re too tired to drive. If you feel tired behind the wheel, pull over and rest. If you need to continue driving, get a caffeinated beverage, at the very least, to help make you more alert until you reach your destination.
Drowsy driving is an avoidable cause of crashes
It’s possible to avoid driving while you’re tired. All drivers have the option of just saying no to driving while they’re tired. If fatigue is an ongoing problem, a sleep study or other interventions may be warranted to see what can be done to help a driver stay more alert.