Drowsy driving is the equivalent of sleeping while driving a car. As silly as that sounds, drowsy driving causes tragic accidents on America’s roads every year. Usually, a driver believes they are awake enough to drive, even when they are tired or sleepy. They do not believe they will be in or cause an accident. They underestimate the effect that driving the vehicle has on their fatigue. There are sometimes undiagnosed medical conditions that cause drowsy driving, but that is the exception to the rule.

Much like driving while under the influence, driving while drowsy slows a driver’s response time. The sleepy driver has reduced awareness, and their judgment is impaired. Unlike the DUI driver, there are no blood or breath tests that will allow the officer a definitive sign of the level of danger to the driver or the public. This puts the officer at a disadvantage and makes training to spot a sleep-deprived driver even more challenging. To judge the reason for the accident, many things are considered. This includes skid marks, and usually the absence of other vehicles or evasive measures taken by the driver. Sometimes the absence of evidence is evidence. A driver who falls asleep while driving does not know he is driving off the road and therefore will not react as he would if he was in control of the vehicle.

The physical dangers

  • Vision is often blurred and impaired
  • Reaction time is much slower than that of a normal driver
  • Drivers are more aggressive and moody, leading to issues with other drivers
  • The driving ability and impulse control are decreased

Contributing factors

Drinking alcohol when you are already tired can lead to extreme fatigue. Though a driver may be able to safely consume a drink when they are rested, but the same amount of alcohol can render them in danger when they are tired.

Taking certain medications can lead to sleepiness. This includes over the counter medications such as cold tablets and sinus medications. Medications for motion sickness and prescription drugs can also have an unexpected side-effect of tiredness. Even if taken in the proper amount, never drive a vehicle when you are taking a medication you are not used to. Never mix medications unless directed by your doctor. Over the counter drugs are still drugs and have a physical effect on the body.

People who drive as part of their jobs such as truck drivers, delivery drivers, and courier drivers are usually monitored to ensure they are not on the road for too many hours. Though, this is not always the case. People who drive long distances are often lulled to sleep while on monotonous roads.

Road safety is something we all desire. If you are involved in an accident due to drowsy driving, you need the advice of an attorney. If this accident resulted in injury or loss of life, criminal charges are possible. Accidents due to drowsy driving are accidents in every sense of the word. But, these accidents are 100% preventable and each of us is responsible for the choice we make when we choose to drive an automobile without adequate rest.