What is Drowsy Driving?

Uncategorized | March 11, 2024

Driving while drowsy. Even though this may not seem like such a big deal, it most certainly is. Drowsy driving leads to approximately 328,000 vehicle crashes a year across the country. Driving while fatigued puts others in danger on the roadway and even led to 684 traffic deaths in 2021. Understanding the scope of fatigued driving problems on our roadways is the best way to prevent yourself from becoming a drowsy driver yourself.

Consequences of Drowsy Driving – Just as Dangerous as Impaired Driving

The consequences of driving while drowsy can be severe and sometimes fatal. In fact, many of the “symptoms” of drowsy driving are nearly the same as the symptoms of driving a car while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Here are some of the most common outcomes of fatigued driving:

  • Slower reaction times. Fatigue slows down a driver’s reaction time, making it harder to respond quickly to rapid changes on the road, such as a car stopping abruptly ahead.
  • Impaired judgment and decision-making. Drowsy drivers have a harder time making good decisions or judging situations correctly, which can lead to risky maneuvers or not taking action when necessary.
  • Decreased attention. Staying attentive to the road, signs, and traffic signals becomes difficult, increasing the likelihood of missing important information and making mistakes.
  • Increased risk of accidents. As we mentioned above, drowsy driving is dangerous and increases the risk that a vehicle accident will occur.

Drowsy Driving Statistics

We mentioned some of the drowsy driving statistics above, but others that should give individuals pause about operating well fatigued include:

  • One in 25 drivers aged 18 or older (adult drivers) reported having fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days when surveyed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Commercial drivers, shift workers, individuals with untreated sleep disorders, individuals who use medications that make them sleepy, and those who fail to get enough sleep are most at risk for drowsy driving.
  • Men are more likely than women to drive while fatigued and are almost two times as likely to fall asleep while driving.
  • Young drivers aged 18-29 are more likely to drive drowsy compared to other age groups, partly due to lifestyles and sleep patterns.

Preventing Drowsy Driving – Steps You Can Take Now

Preventing fatigued driving starts with recognizing the often-subtle signs of drowsiness, such as frequent yawning, heavy eyelids, and difficulty remembering the last few miles driven. Some tips that can help prevent drowsy driving include:


  1. Get adequate sleep. Most adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night to avoid drowsiness.
  2. Plan for long trips. For long driving trips, share the driving responsibilities with others to ensure someone alert is always driving.
  3. Take regular breaks. Stop every two hours or 100 miles to rest and stretch your legs.
  4. Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness before driving.
  5. Consult with a healthcare provider if you have symptoms of a sleep disorder, such as snoring or feeling excessively tired during the day.

Drowsy Driving Accidents – What’s Next?

If you or somebody you care about has been harmed due to the negligent actions of a drowsy driver in or around the Sacramento area, please reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Fatigued driving claims can be challenging to prove, but a Sacramento car accident lawyer can assist with the investigation into the claim and recover the compensation you are entitled to.