Fatigue has many of the same dangerous effects as drinking when it comes to driving, as drivers who are drowsy are more likely to miss their exit, hit rumble strips, drift from their lane into another lane and get into accidents than those who are not drowsy, states the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention. When a driver is sleepy, the driver will automatically be less attentive, have a slower reaction time and have a more difficult time making quick decisions, which are all necessary aspects of driving safely.
Many people are unaware of the problems with drowsy driving, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that "2.5 percent of fatal crashes and 2 percent of injury crashes involve drowsy driving." This is a dangerous statistic, considering that the estimation is conservative on the part of the organization, and there may be as many as 6,000 crashes each year due to sleepy drivers, reports the CDC.
Studies have shown that after 18 hours of being awake, a person is cognitively impaired close to someone with a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of 0.05 percent and after 24 hours, that person is cognitively impaired close to someone with a BAC of 0.10 percent, which is a blood alcohol content level that is above the legal limit. The CDC also recommends that drivers pull over if they feel tired and take a brief nap in the car, get out and stretch, perform jumping jacks or change drivers.