When you get behind the wheel of a car to go somewhere, you put yourself at risk for involvement in a drowsy driving accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that in 2017, 795 people died in drowsy driving collisions.
Drowsy driving is preventable, but many drivers continue to drive even when they feel too tired. Those most likely to drive drowsy include shift workers, truck drivers, people with sleep apnea, medical professionals and those who take medications with drowsiness as a side effect.
The effect of drowsiness on your body
Drowsy driving is dangerous because lack of enough sleep can have a similar impact on your body as consuming alcohol. For example, when you do not sleep for 18 hours, it is the same as driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. If you drive after not sleeping for 24 hours, the effect is similar to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.10%.
Driving while sleep deprived makes it harder to watch the road in front of you, making a car accident more likely. Drowsy driving can also negatively impact your ability to make quick decisions while operating a vehicle.
Tips to stay alert
You can prevent drowsy driving by getting enough sleep on a regular basis. You should also check your medications to see if any of them cause drowsiness, always get a good night’s rest before a long trip and avoid driving during periods where you are the most tired, like in the late afternoon, for example.