We all have trouble sleeping from time to time. But you might not realize that a sleepless night can affect your ability to drive similarly to a night of drinking alcohol.
Just like beer, wine and liquor, lack of sleep can affect a driver’s reaction times, awareness and decision-making. Being awake for more than 20 hours straight affects the brain as much as 0.08 percent blood-alcohol concentration — the legal limit in Alabama.
Keeping yourself alert on the road
There is probably no way of knowing if any of the drivers around you on the highway are dozing off behind the wheel until one of them crashes into you. But you can help keep yourself safe by reducing the risk of driving while sleepy yourself. Here are three ways to make that happen.
- Fatigue tends to be highest in mid-afternoon and from midnight to 6 am. Avoid driving during these times if possible.
- Don’t try to finish a long road trip in one shot. Alternate with your companion or pull over and take breaks regularly.
- When your doctor prescribes a new medication, ask if drowsiness is a possible side effect. If taking it does make you drowsy, ask if you can switch to another drug.
Along with getting a good night’s sleep, these suggestions should minimize the chances that you cause a car accident because of drowsy driving. Unfortunately, many Birmingham motorists are not so careful or conscious of other people’s safety. Someone who hurts you in a wreck because they were too tired to drive is liable for your medical bills, lost past and future wages, reduced quality of life and other damages.