Is drowsy driving really as bad as drunk driving?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2021 | Car Accident |

While many Washington inhabitants are well aware of the fact that drinking and driving is extremely dangerous, many people don’t realize how equally risky drowsy driving can be. In fact, a study showed that 50% of American adults have admitted to driving while they were drowsy. Even 20% of study participants admitted to falling asleep at the wheel within the past year.

What happens when a driver is drowsy?

When a driver who is really drowsy gets behind the wheel of their vehicle, they tend to exhibit various signs of impairment. The most commonly seen is weaving back and forth between various lanes. Drowsy drivers tend to have trouble maintaining the right speed, and they often tailgate vehicles in front of them. These drivers tend to react a lot slower to unexpected roadway incidences and are three times more likely to be involved in auto accidents.

Drunk driving and drowsy driving compared

Researchers took a look at the effects of drowsy driving and compared it to the impairment level of drunk driving. They found many similar driving impairments between the two. These include a lack of alertness, poor decision-making, speeding and the lack of fast reflexes to avoid unexpected obstacles. One study revealed that drivers who had not slept in 24 hours had an impairment level similar to that of a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.10. Even drivers lacking sleep for just 18 hours showed an impairment level similar to a person with a BAC of 0.05.

While many people are aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated, most don’t realize just how dangerous driving while drowsy can be. If you’ve been involved in an accident due to a drowsy driver, it’s advisable to seek an attorney to handle your case.