Many people who are too tired to drive safely insist that they’re fine and that they can manage. If you suggest that they wait until the next day, they’d be shocked and would insist they can’t possibly do so. This attitude stems largely from the mistaken belief that drowsy driving isn’t all that dangerous.
In reality, drowsy driving is a serious safety issue — and it can be deadly.
Fatigue changes how you drive
The truth is that this is very risky, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even call it a “serious risk to…health and safety.” They have tracked tens of thousands of car accidents back to drivers simply being too tired behind the wheel, and those accidents have taken hundreds of lives.
The problem is that being tired changes how you drive. You may:
- Have slower reaction times
- Zone out and get distracted
- Actually fall asleep, even if just for a second
- Make mental errors and poor judgment calls
On top of that, being tired can make some other issues even worse. Say you had a beer with dinner. Ordinarily, you know you could drive safely. If you drink that beer when you’re tired, though, it can impact you far more greatly than it would if you were wide awake. All of these issues compound on one another and increase accident odds.
When a drowsy driver hits you, you have recourse
It’s wise to avoid drowsy driving just like you avoid drunk driving. Unfortunately, not everyone does, and this is very hard to regulate. If someone else hits your car because they’re half-asleep behind the wheel, you may have a right to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other costs.