Horton, Ballard & Pemerton PLLCHorton, Ballard
& Pemerton PLLC
P: 423-243-3783 TF: 800-819-3927

Is driving drowsy really as dangerous as drunk driving?

Sleep deprivation seems to be a chronic, yet normal, state for many people these days. Getting a good night's sleep feels like a luxury to many people. Between family and work obligations, it can feel as though you will never catch up. In fact, you may have become so used to not getting enough sleep that you don't even realize just how tired you are.

If this sounds familiar, you aren't alone. What most people don't realize is that taking that sleep deficit behind the wheel creates a hazard for everyone on the road. In fact, some sources say that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

What makes drowsy driving so dangerous?

If you drive after remaining awake for 24 hours or more, your driving abilities rival those of a person with a blood alcohol concentration of .10. If you get behind the wheel after staying awake for at least 18 hours, you might as well have a BAC of .05. Under both circumstances, your ability to maintain focus, pay attention and react quickly in emergencies diminishes.

One major difference is that drunk drivers may attempt to react and driver slower, but drowsy drivers may fall asleep even at higher speeds. Knowing when you may be too tired to drive could end up saving your life and the lives of others who share the road with you. Exhibiting any of the following symptoms may keep you alive and unharmed:

  • Heavy eyelids
  • Trouble focusing
  • Constant yawning
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Bobbing your head
  • Failing to remember the last bit of road you drove

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you are probably already too tired to drive. If you don't have far to go, caffeine may help, as would a 20-minute nap. However, you may need to know that these measures and others, such as rolling down the windows and turning up the music, only temporarily help.

What happens after a drowsy driving accident?

If a drowsy driver causes you injuries, you may pursue compensation for your financial losses and other damages through the filing of a personal injury claim. Successfully proving to the court that your injuries resulted from another person's negligence could result in a Tennessee civil court awarding you damages that could help with your medical bills, lost income and other expenses you incurred, or may continue to incur, as a result of the crash.

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