Most people understand that driving after drinking alcohol can be dangerous for everyone on the road. In comparison, inadequate sleep is so common that people often consider it a trivial concern. However, drowsy driving can be just as hazardous as drunk driving.
Sleep deprivation causes some of the same impairments that consuming alcohol can cause. Both alcohol and lack of sleep can decrease someone’s ability to focus on the road and slow their reaction times.
Signs that a driver may be impaired
The best way to avoid being in a drowsy driving collision is to make sure you get enough sleep every night. However, you cannot control other driver’s actions, so it can also be beneficial to steer clear of drivers who are showing signs of impairment, especially when you are driving at night.
If you are sharing the road with a tired or drunk driver, you may notice their vehicle:
- Hitting the rumble strip
- Drifting from its lane
- Tailgating the car in front of it
The difference between drowsy and drunk driving
Although sleep deprivation and alcohol can impair someone’s driving ability in similar ways, there are some differences, too. Unfortunately, one of the key differences may only be noticeable at the time of a crash.
A drunk driver will often try to react to avoid a collision. This may mean he or she slams on the brakes or swerves. Drowsy drivers are more likely to fall asleep while still traveling at high speeds. Because they doze off, drowsy drivers often do not try to brake or swerve.
Although a driver may be asleep at the time of a crash, he or she probably won’t remain asleep after the collision. Many people who fell asleep at the wheel do not want to admit what happened, which makes it difficult to gather precise drowsy driving statistics.
However, if you are injured in a collision and you suspect the driver fell asleep at the wheel, you may have options. Holding a reckless driver accountable for his or her actions may help you receive compensation for your medical expenses and other costs related to your injury. It may also help prevent the driver from causing a similar crash in the future.