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How similar are drunk driving and drowsy driving?

Did you know that sleep deprivation can affect your body in many of the same ways as drinking alcohol? According to the National Sleep Foundation, a person who is awake for 18 hours straight can end up driving as though he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05. If your have been deprived of sleep for a full 24 hours, your body will act as though your BAC is .10.

Sixty percent of Americans admit to driving while they feel drowsy. About 33 percent have actually fallen asleep at the wheel.

Both drunk driving and drowsy driving can make it very difficult to pay attention to the road. Fast decision making can be impacted. However, if a police officer is following a drunk driver and a drowsy driver, what he or she see will likely be different.

A drunk driver is often driving very slowly. A drowsy driver is likely to begin to nod off while traveling the speed limit. Drowsy drivers are not necessarily hitting their brakes frequently or swerve if something is in the road.

There are signs that you may need to stop and get some rest. These are:

-- Difficulty focusing

-- Nodding and bobbing your head

-- Drifting from your lane

-- Constantly yawning

-- Not being able to remember the stretch of road that you just drove

If these things begin to happen to you, it's time to pull over. Take a 20-minute nap or grab a cup of coffee. Get out and walk around. Switch drivers.

If you are injured in an accident in which the other vehicle was operated by a drowsy driver, you may have a right to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. You will find the advise of an experienced personal injury attorney quite beneficial.

Source: sleepfoundation.org, "Drowsy Driving vs. Drunk Driving: How Similar Are They?," accessed April 28, 2017

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