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Drowsy Driving Can Be Just as Bad as Drunk Driving

New Hampshire auto accident attorneyAAA recently conducted a study of more than 3,500 participants that examined the effects of drowsy driving in auto accidents. This study, which was part of the federally funded Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP 2NDS), closely examined drivers through the use of in-vehicle cameras over the course of several months.

The goal of this experiment was to determine how often driving while drowsy was a factor in car accidents. Participants were examined using the PERCLOS system, or the “percentage of time that a person’s eyes are closed over a defined measurement.”

Drowsy driving is a danger to us all

When it comes to drowsy driving, people have all sorts of methods and tricks for trying to keep their bodies awake, such as rolling down the windows, blasting loud music or drinking yet another cup of coffee. However, none of these solutions actually makes any lasting difference. “Short term tactics… will not work,” said Jake Nelson, the director of the Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA. Nelson continued, “Your body’s need for sleep will eventually override your brain’s attempts to stay awake.”

What’s worse, driving after missing even two or three hours of sleep could impact your driving as much as if you had had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel. That means that the dangers of driving while drowsy can be equivalent to the dangers of driving drunk. The only solution to drowsy driving, Nelson says, is getting adequate sleep.  

Take a break

Many people in this country struggle from sleep deprivation. They may be new parents up frequently in the middle of the night, full-time employees who work a good deal of overtime, or night shift workers struggling to sleep during the day. Whatever the reason, attempting to operate a vehicle without an adequate amount of sleep can have a real and lasting effect not only on the driver but also on everyone else on the road.

The New Hampshire car accident lawyers at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A. know the impact of inadequate sleep when you’re out there on the road. We know that life is chaotic and demanding, but sleep needs to be a priority for all of us. If you begin to feel drowsy on the road, pull over as soon as possible and rest. Even closing your eyes for 20 minutes can help ensure you and everyone else on the road get home safely.


AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (2018). Prevalence of Drowsy-Driving Crashes: Estimates from a Large-Scale Naturalistic Driving Study. - via

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