It’s possible to fall asleep for only a second and not even realize it. If you know that you have a tendency to nod off when you’re tired, then you shouldn’t drive in that condition. You could easily get into an accident. Some states consider drowsy driving as impaired driving because of how much it affects you. California might charge you with reckless driving if you’re caught swerving on the road while weary.
More than 40% of adult drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once, and 20% stated that they fell asleep at the wheel in the past year. Drowsy driving causes tens of thousands of injuries annually. In California, prosecutors could charge you with vehicular manslaughter if someone dies as a result of your drowsy driving.
As bad as driving drunk
Driving while drowsy is almost the same as driving while drunk. You have a slower reaction time, poorer judgment and worse coordination while you’re in either of these states. Both drowsy driving and drunk driving cause numerous motor vehicle accidents. You are three times more likely to be in a car accident when you are sleepy than when you are alert. Drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 car accidents each year.
When a person falls asleep for only a few seconds, they are experiencing microsleep. Falling asleep at the wheel for four to five seconds on the highway is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field while unconscious. If someone were to cut in front of you, you might not react in time to prevent a collision.
Signs you’re not all right to drive
If you are having trouble keeping your eyes open or you are frequently yawning, you aren’t alert enough to drive. Other warning signs that you need to pull over and have someone else drive while you take a nap are failure to remember driving the past few miles, missing road signs, struggling to maintain speed, missing turns, having trouble keeping your head up and drifting out of your lane.
Drowsy driving is a more serious issue than many people realize. The impairment it causes while behind the wheel is just about the same as the impairment caused by alcohol.