If you’re feeling overly tired and thinking of getting behind the wheel, do you realize that the decision you’re about to make is very similar to the one you make if you’ve had too many drinks and are about driving yourself home? Experts warn that drunk driving and drowsy driving are actually quite similar. They can both:

— Make your reactions slower when there are changes ahead of you on the road, such as the driver in front of you hitting the brakes.

— Decrease your overall awareness of what’s going on around you, causing you to miss traffic signs and other important details.

— Impair your sense of judgment. You may make decisions that will later cause you to shake your head, unsure why you ever would have felt it was a good idea.

Also, like being drunk, being too tired can cause you to pass out behind the wheel. Then your car is simply driving itself until it goes off the edge of the road. In fact, one of the key things that investigators look for when they’re arriving at a new crash site is whether or not there are signs that you tried to stop — like skid marks. If there aren’t, they can conclude that you may have been asleep, unaware of the danger you were in.

Have you been hit by a drowsy driver or injured when the person you were riding with fell asleep? In either case, you may be able to seek compensation. Be sure that you know your rights when someone else decides to chance it and drives when he or she really should be going to bed.

Source: Drowsy Driving, “Facts,” accessed Oct. 25, 2016