Experts say drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Experts say drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving

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SHERMAN, TX - Drivers face a lot of hazards on the road, but getting behind the wheel gets more risky when you're not completely alert. Drinking or texting and driving are dangerous, but there's another impairment that's not often talked about.

Experts estimate that fatigued drivers kill more than 1500 people every year, and there's no test to determine if someone is driving drowsy, like there is for intoxication.

In a country where most of us don't get enough sleep, it's a dangerous issue that shouldn't be ignored.

"Driving is monotonous."

Like it or not, America is a sleep deprived nation and a lot of us have experienced these feelings behind the wheel.

"You can't control your day dreams while you're driving, difficulty focusing, trouble keeping your head up, and drifting out of your lane," said Wilson N. Jones Sleep Tech, Chris Mascuilli.

If it sounds familiar, these are the symptoms of drowsy driving.

"It effects so much of your daily life and the quality of sleep you get effects everything you do during the day," Mascuilli said.

Experts say getting behind the wheel when you're very tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.

"My boyfriend, his brother passed away 20 years ago but he was about 17 and he fell asleep driving," said Michelle Emley.

But they say it's a fact that most people will not admit to, in fact, sleep techs say it's a question patients often avoid.

"Have you ever fallen asleep while driving, do you fall asleep as a passenger, 9 out of 10 will not answer that question," said Mascuilli.

Let's face it we've all felt a little tired behind the wheel before and when you hit that point, you'll do anything to stay awake, like rolling down the window, turning on the air conditioner or even the radio.

"Hopefully there's somebody riding with you that you can talk to, but sometimes there aint so you do what you can," said driver, Cary Gist.

So who's most likely to fall asleep at the wheel?

Studies point to teenagers, and mostly men, but 16 year old new driver, Jesus Lopez, says he'll never be part of that statistic.

"When you take the wheel it's like you're holding everybody's life in your hands."

For more information on drowsy driving and statistics, visit the link below.

http://drowsydriving.org/