Driving while drowsy could cause you to lose more time than if you would have pulled over to sleep – or got the proper sleep prior to leaving on your trip or commute. In fact, it could rob you and innocent drivers of the rest of the time in your natural lives. When a person is driving while drowsy, he or she is more apt to cause a motor vehicle accident.
The symptoms of drowsy driving include drooping eyelids and blurry vision. Further, a person’s head may feel so heavy, your chin keeps hitting your chest. Everyone knows the symptoms, yet some people still insist on driving while drowsy.
AAA and the National Sleep Foundation conducted polls; and both polls showed that large numbers of people drive while they are sleepy. In 2005, the National Sleep Foundation found that 60 percent of the 1,000 people polled admitted that they have driven while feeling sleepy. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed confessed to falling asleep behind the wheel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also found that an estimate of 100,000 motor vehicle accidents each year are the result of people driving while drowsy. The NHTSA says the estimate is conservative, as it is difficult to determine how many accidents actually happen because someone was tired.
While it is difficult to tell if an accident happened because the driver was tired, there are signs, such as marks showing that the driver tried to correct, or the absence of skid-marks before the vehicle ran off the road or hit something.
Media sources report that numerous studies showed that driving while drowsy impairs driving as much as driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs. The studies showed that a person who has been awake for 20 hours performs as poorly as a person with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol reading.
Source: CNN, “Driving drowsy as dangerous as driving drunk, studies show,” Lisa Shives, Nov. 9, 2011