Everybody in Birmingham knows that drinking and driving can lead to a terrible car accident. But driving while sober but sleepy can be just as dangerous, according to government sources.
Lack of sleep can impair your judgment, ability to perceive what is going on around you, and reaction time. Just like drugs or alcohol do. So just like driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, driving while fatigued is a negligent and potentially hazardous choice. And just like drunk driving, millions of Americans do it anyway. On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites a survey in which around 4 percent of adults admitted dozing off while driving at least once in the previous 30 days.
Thousands killed, hurt every year
The impact of this legion of drowsy drivers in the U.S. is devastating. Government estimates range from 886 to 1,550 people killed each year in collisions with fatigued drivers. Up to 71,000 people suffer non-fatal but potentially life-changing injuries at the hands of drowsy motorists per year.
Who is driving while exhausted?
Any driver can suffer from a lack of sleep. But the most likely culprits are shift workers (especially those on the night shift), commercial truck drivers, people who take medication that makes them sleepy, and people with an untreated sleep disorder like sleep apnea. The best way to prevent causing a drowsy driving accident is to get enough sleep or seek treatment for a medical condition that is keeping you from sleeping enough.
Like drunk drivers, many sleepy people mistakenly believe they are “fine” to get behind the wheel. Often, the result is an innocent person killed, permanently disabled, or seriously injured.