The driver next to you at the red light rests their head on the steering wheel. You can't help but think that they look exhausted. You are headed home from a late-night shift at work, after all, and you suspect that driver is as well.
"At least they're not drunk," you say to yourself.
Is being tired any less dangerous? People are quick to get behind the wheel, no matter how tired they are. They think they can "power through it" and get home safely. Many of these same people would never drive after more than one beer. They understand the danger of that.
However, researchers have found some clear connections over the years. They believe the two have a lot in common.
"Just like alcohol or drugs, sleepiness slows reaction time and impairs judgment," one expert noted. "And drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence."
Reaction times are a big issue here. Many drunk drivers could probably get home if the roads were clear. What they can't do is react when traffic slows down, someone changes lanes or a light turns red. They make mistakes and cause accidents.
Tired drivers are exactly the same. When they're so exhausted that they don't react right away, they can cause crashes that could easily have been avoided. They understand the risks and regret it after the fact, but by then it is too late and the damage is done.
Have you suffered injuries in an accident with a drowsy driver? You may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and other expenses.