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Is drowsy driving as bad as drunk driving?

There are many driving behaviors that can affect your safety on the road. Intoxicated driving serves as one of the most well known ones. As time goes on, the dangers of drowsy driving also get brought to life more frequently.

But how do the two compare? Which is a bigger danger? Do they share more similarities, or are they very different issues?

Shared signs of drowsy and intoxicated driving

The Sleep Foundation examines drowsy driving versus drunk driving. While intoxicated driving often gets the worst reputation, the fact of the matter is, plenty of other driving behaviors rival it in terms of injuries, accidents and fatalities.

Drowsy driving does stack up to intoxicated driving in many respects. First, they actually impact drivers in a similar way. For example, shared effects for both include:

  • The inability to focus or concentrate
  • Diminished critical thinking skills
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Struggling to identify dangers
  • Emotional instability that may lead to rash actions

Is drowsy driving more dangerous?

In some ways, drowsy driving is even more dangerous. You can pass out or blackout while driving under the influence. But it is more common for drowsy drivers to fall asleep at the wheel. This renders you completely incapable of reacting to surrounding dangers, leading to deadlier and more frequent crashes.

On top of this, many consider drowsy driving a more acceptable behavior than intoxicated driving. This means it happens with greater frequency, across a larger number of people. In turn, this increases the chance of a crash happening.

Thus, one of the best ways to tackle this budding problem is through information and awareness campaigns. The more people know about the dangers of drowsy driving, the fewer will engage and the safer the roads will grow.