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Drowsy driving and drunk driving not so different, study shows

Your life is becoming increasingly busy. Your boss expects you to be available around the clock. You’ve got obligations with your spouse and kids. Plus, your commute takes up two hours of each day. You’re stretched thin—leaving you with very little time to rest.

As a society, we’ve begun to view our state of constant flurry and sleep deprivation as the norm. However, it is not normal—nor is it healthy. You’ve probably heard that a lack of sleep can put you at risk for certain health conditions—such as heart disease or diabetes. But the physical consequences of sleep deprivation can actually be much more immediate than that. In today’s post, we examine why drowsy driving is more dangerous than you might expect.

Speeding down the interstate at 70 miles an hour is a risky endeavor—even on a good day. But if you’re sleep deprived and your mental alertness is compromised, the decision to get behind the wheel could be deadly. A recent study shows that if you’ve missed sleep for just 17 hours, it’s as though your blood alcohol concentration is at 0.05 percent. Your reaction time degrades further with continued sleep deprivation.

Minnesota has passed laws and implemented campaigns to discourage drunk driving. However, there is little discourse about the comparable dangers of driving on insufficient sleep. If you’re feeling groggy while you’re getting ready to go to work in the morning, think twice before you get the behind the wheel. The decision to find a ride to the office could save your life.

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