If you’re in your car right now, beware. The driver next to you could be sleeping. A new C-D-C study found that a skyrocketing number of people are “driving drowsy.” In fact, 1 in 20 people admit to nodding off behind the wheel, causing over 100,000 car crashes and countless deaths every year. And experts say the problem’s only getting worse. 

Why? Because more people are cutting back on sleep. And a lot of people boast they only need a few hours a night. Dr. Allan Pack is the director of the Center for Sleep at the University of Pennsylvania. And he says people don’t realize that driving while tired is as dangerous as driving drunk. In fact, if you go 24 hours without sleeping, it’s the equivalent of having a blood alcohol level of point-1, which is over the legal drinking limit of point-zero-8. 

So, why is driving drowsy so dangerous? Because a lack of sleep seriously messes with your brain. When it’s time to sleep, your body automatically releases a chemical which triggers you to fall asleep. But when you force yourself to stay awake, your brain goes into overdrive trying to fight to stay alert, and gets foggy, which drastically affects your alertness, coordination, and judgment, the three things you need to safely drive. So, more and more states are trying to make driving drowsy illegal. And punishable by serious fines and jail time.