There is no doubt that driving is a risky activity. Accidents occur every day on Arizona roadways. You may pride yourself on being a good driver, though. You never drink and drive or use your cellphone while behind the wheel. You follow the speed limit and obey all road laws. You may be cautious and drive carefully to avoid ever ending up in a car accident.
Did you know, though, that not getting enough sleep the night before could put your morning commute at risk? Time explains that driving when drowsy is about as dangerous as driving when drunk.
A lack of sleep
Obviously, the amount of sleepiness you feel will determine your overall risk of an accident. To be comparable to a drunk driver, you would need to have less than five hours of sleep the night before. Even missing just one hour of sleep, though, could increase your risks.
You should get at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you do not, it impacts your body and brain. You function at a lower level, even if you can not recognize it yourself.
The big risk
While you may very well adjust to missing an hour or two of sleep per night and drive just fine, if you are sleeping only five hours in a 24-hour period, then you are at the biggest risk. You are not safe to get behind the wheel. It would be the same impairment level as being legally drunk.
Any sleep-deprived individual who gets behind the wheel has the potential to cause a serious or fatal accident. A drunk driver may at least try to slow down in response to an unexpected traffic situation. However, a driver who is asleep may drift into oncoming traffic or slam into the car ahead without ever hitting the brakes.