Fifth Gear Proves Driving Tired Can Be as Bad As Drunk Driving

Call us crazy, but we love seeing these older car review videos. Between the jittery footage and the low resolution, it's like being back in the VHS era. Can anybody lend us a Blockbuster Video card?
Fifth Gear Proves Driving Tired Can Be as Bad As Drunk Driving 1 photo
Photo: YouTube screenshot/Fifth Gear
In any case, this is from Fifth Gear Season 3 in March of 2003, when the show was a viable Top Gear alternative for British television. And we'd also like to point out that distracted driving wasn't really a thing back then. Taking selfies wasn't a common thing, but I bet people could still kill themselves by doing makeup in the mirror or screaming at the kids in the back.

In any case, the video is all about proving that driving tired is about as bad as drink driving, or at least raising awareness of the problem. Driving over the limit is illegal all over the world, and some countries have zero alcohol tolerance. But sleep deprivation can be just as bad.

The non-scientific experiment features two samples, one where the people are tired and the other where they've been topped off with beer. The first test tries to replicate a normal morning commute, and in Britain, that means twisting narrow roads and avoiding parked cars.

The tired people do very well, but the drunk ones are overconfident and make some potentially dangerous mistakes. But the results are reversed when they try nighttime highway driving. Tiff, who is drunk here, makes almost no mistakes, even though he admits his reflexes might be a little dull. On the other hand, drowsy drivers are far more dangerous.

60% of adults in the U.S. have done it and around a third of people have actually fallen asleep at the wheel, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Though driving while exhausted may seem relatively harmless, it has serious consequences. You could get into a car accident and possibly harm yourself or someone else.

If you've been awake for 24 hours, it's like having a blood alcohol level of 0.10, well over the limit. But the effects are different. People who get behind the wheel drunk may realize they're dangerous and go slowly, giving themselves time to reach. But a drowsy driver can nod off while still going fast, so they may not react at all.

Coffee and power are your friends in this situation!

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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