Getting behind the wheel after having one too many drinks can have disastrous consequences for you and for the drivers around you. But did you know that driving when you’re sleep deprived can be just as dangerous?

In 2017, there was an estimate of nearly 91,000 accidents that involved drowsy drivers. Here’s why drowsy drivers pose a risk to other drivers on the road.

Driving like you’re drunk

When you’re tired, your body often reacts like it would under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation found that driving after being awake for 18 hours straight has the same effect on your driving skills as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05. Not sleeping for a full 24 hours can make your driving skills equivalent to that of someone with a BAC of .10.

Signs of a drowsy driver

There are many signs of a drowsy driver. Like drunk drivers, you might notice a drowsy driver drifting from their lane. But a sleep-deprived driver may also show additional signs, such as:

  • Frequent blinking or heavy eyelids
  • Head bobbing
  • Incessant yawning

Preventing drowsy driving

You may not be able to control others’ decisions to drive sleep deprived, but there are preventative measures you can take to avoid drowsy driving.

If you find yourself experiencing any signs of a drowsy driver, simply pulling over and taking a nap can help refresh your mind so you can finish your drive. Avoid taking medication that will make you drowsy, or switch drivers if you have someone else in the car.

By being mindful and alert while driving, you can help keep roads safer and reduce the risk of a serious accident. However, accidents can happen unexpectedly. If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by a drowsy driver, an attorney can provide you with the help you may need.