See how getting behind the wheel when you’re tired is as dangerous as getting behind the wheel when you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Is drowsy driving really as bad as drunk or drugged driving?



man yawning while driving a carWe’ve all experienced fatigue and even exhaustion, and we know we do not function at our best in such a state. After a long stretch of no sleep, your body begins to shut down to conserve energy. This shutdown can affect sight, reaction time, attention span, and even cognitive function. In fact, the effects of fatigue are very similar to the effects of alcohol and some drugs, which makes driving while fatigued just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Similarities Between the Effects of Drugs and Sleep Deprivation

Alcohol and marijuana can affect users differently, but they both work as depressants rather than stimulants, which is why their effects are similar to the effects of lack of sleep. Depending on how much a user has taken, the effects can be more or less severe. In general, users will experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slowed reflexes (feels as though you’re moving in slow motion)
  • Memory loss
  • Poor focus
  • Loss of feeling
  • Increased paranoia
  • Decreased attention span

These effects obviously do not mix well with the tasks required by driving a car or truck, and similar things occur when you deny your brain sleep. Your brain needs rest to repair itself from the previous day and rejuvenate itself to control your body. When that rest is denied, the brain will become exhausted and shut down non-essential functions. According to the National Sleep Foundation, lack of sleep causes:

  • Slow reaction times
  • Impaired judgment and vision
  • Decline in attention
  • Decreased alertness
  • Increased moodiness, paranoia, and aggressive behavior
  • Inability to process information
  • Memory loss

These effects are clearly similar to the effects of alcohol and marijuana, and yet fewer people are aware of the dangers or take measures to prevent drowsy driving.

It’s Time to Wake Up for Safety

Considering how similar the effects of fatigue are to the effects of drugs and alchohol, it is extremely important to recognize the signs of drowsiness before you put yourself and others at risk. If you feel like you’re losing control, pull over and rest until you regain focus. Don’t ever try to push yourself past your limits. Finally, if you’ve been injured by a driver who was too tired to have been safely able to drive, contact an experienced collision lawyer for the legal options you need to recover.