Drowsy Driving More Dangerous than Drunk Driving?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’re probably aware that fatigued driving isn’t the best decision, but did you know that it could just as — or more — fatal than drunk driving?

How could anyone know?

That’s right, AAA reported that about 17 percent of fatal accidents are caused by drowsy drivers. While it is more difficult for police to determine sleepiness as a cause for an accident than drunk driving, there are certain road clues that lead to that conclusion. For example, drivers who fall asleep tend to be in the car alone, drive into barriers instead of other cars, and show no attempt to veer back in the right direction.

Has this theory been tested?

Don’t believe it? Mythbusters Tory Belleci and Kari Byron even confirmed it. The two took two driving tests meant to test ability as well as attention span. First, they drove both courses alert and sober t o gauge their typical driving tendencies. Next, they each drove the courses after taking a few shots. Their driving was clearly impaired, but not nearly as bad as the last time around the courses. After staying up for 30 hours, Tory did 10 times worse driving sleepy than he did tipsy. Kari’s driving was about 3 times worse. While drowsy driving isn’t exactly illegal, some states will charge drivers with criminal negligence if someone else is killed or injured as result. We hope this post inspires you to catch some extra z’s before your next road trip.