People often want to know, is drowsy driving as dangerous as drunk driving? For all practical purposes it is just as dangerous and some consider it more dangerous than drunk driving. As dangerous as drowsy driving is the statistics gathered are lacking. Driver education on the topic is also lacking. It is important to understand what makes drowsy driving so dangerous.
The results of driving while drowsy are the same as drinking while driving. Both drivers will suffer from inattentiveness and poor decision making skills. In addition to the drivers will experience slower reaction times, difficulties with processing information, and impaired memory. These negative effects and impairments combine together to make both drivers equally lethal risks to themselves and other drivers and pedestrians on the road.
Another comparison is the cumulative results of both drinking and sleep deprivation while driving. It is common knowledge that the more you drink the more you become impaired. What is not as known is that the longer you stay awake the more dangerous you are behind the wheel. A person that has been sleep deprived for 24 hours or more will suffer the same impairment as someone whose blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit. It is important to note that the word deprivation applies to anyone who gets less than 8 to 6 hours of sleep per night. Deprivation is not reserved for those who do not sleep at all. This is a common misconception for many drivers.
While there are several comparisons and similarities between the two conditions there are many reasons drowsy driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. The first reason is, there is no drowsy driving test that can be administered to drivers.. This makes it difficult to impossible for police officers to monitor the roadways for such drivers. If you have to sue a drowsy driver for an accident, just like you would sue a drunk driver, it is almost impossible to prove the impairment. Another reason drowsy driving is so dangerous is how a driver responds or does not respond. A drunk driver will tend to brake or swerve albeit to late. A drowsy driver does not brake or swerve at all since they are typically asleep when the accident is happening. The results of no reaction at all are often devastating.
If you are driving and you know you are sleep deprived remember that it is comparable to driving while drinking. If you start to suffer the negative effects of drowsiness pull over at once. If you have another driver with you, switch. If you do not have another driver keep yourself and everyone else safe, pull over and get some sleep. It will save lives.