Research has shown that fatigued driving is just as harmful as drunk driving. In New York, courts have ruled drivers liable for negligence if they drive while drowsy. Other states clearly define fatigued driving as impaired driving, so New York may soon update the law this way as well.
Slower reaction times
Fatigued driving comes with slower reaction times. You only have a few seconds or less to respond appropriately to hazards on the road. The drowsier you are, the more impaired your ability will be to react quickly and effectively to problems on the road.
Lack of coordination
Drowsiness impairs your hand-eye coordination, which is an important skill for driving. You need good hand-eye coordination to stay in your lane and avoid accidents. While driving, you take in visual cues from the road and adjust your hands on the steering wheel accordingly. The impaired coordination that fatigue causes makes it much more likely you will miscalculate.
Inability to concentrate
When you’re tired, you have trouble focusing. Demanding tasks like driving or using your creativity are difficult to handle while you’re drowsy because of your inability to concentrate. Losing focus even for a few seconds on the road can cause car accidents. Drivers are three times more likely to cause motor vehicle accidents when they are drowsy.
Fatigued driving is dangerous because it impairs your ability to focus, stay within your line and react appropriately to conditions on the road. Drunk driving causes all of these debilitating effects as well. Keep yourself and others safe on the road by only driving when you are well-rested and alert. A short 20-minute nap is a good idea to improve your safety if you absolutely have to continue driving.
While you may take all necessary safety precautions on the road, another driver could ignore signs of drowsiness and get behind the wheel anyway, resulting in a car accident. A personal injury attorney may help you hold a negligent driver responsible.