Driving while tired/sleepy, serious sin?

Today I was awake before 6am, and left home at 6:30am to drive 90 miles to a study day. The study day finished at 4pm, then I had the 90 mile return trip home. Although I stopped part of the way home for a break and a coffee, I was aware especially as the trip went on that I was getting tired, feeling sleepy, and not concentrating as well as I should on the road. Nothing actually happened, just aware that I wasn’t as “up to speed” as I should be and there were times when I slowed down a bit because of this. Just wondering whether it would be considered (seriously) sinful for me to have continued driving in this state.

That is something only you can really discern. Do an examination of conscience.

I did an examination of conscience but can’t decide, that’s why I asked on the forum hoping that somebody would be able to provide some insight.

The only answer I can come up with is that serious sin is only committed by someone who knows they are doing so. So if there is doubt, that suggests no sin is committed, at least not serious sin. I would say there was no overt intention to sin seriously but the contra-argument would be that knowing it isn’t a good idea is enough, without an explicit intention to sin seriously.

I suppose you could also say there are some questions it’s better not to ask on an Internet forum such as CAF :smiley:

I would + 1 that. If there is doubt as to serious sin, there would be no serious sin.

As to the title question, only you know your body. If you doubt your ability to remain fully alert, and there is an alternative to driving in that state – even just pulling off the road for a catnap – then that alternative should IMNAAHO be taken.


I don’t know if I’d call it a sin - it really depends on how close you were to falling asleep, something that’s really hard to judge. When I was young I fell asleep driving on the freeway. Woke up doing 65 in the grassy meridian (this was many years before they started putting up those barriers - my story would have ended differently had I hit one of those).

That really scared me. Ever after I either stop for coffee or a nap if I feel too sleepy to drive safely.

I think your question is a great one and very important. I had taken a workshop on driving and here are some USA statistics – " NHTSA statistics show that at least 100,000 crashes and 1,500 deaths each year are the result of drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
All drivers should know that fighting tiredness while at the wheel is not only unadvisable; it can be deadly. The actual extent to which fatigue contributes to the traffic crash picture is probably much higher than statistics indicate, because long before a driver actually becomes drowsy, fatigue can seriously impair driving ability, often referred to as ‘inattention’. The onset of fatigue frequently coincides with the onset of darkness when visibility is greatly reduced and the risks of traffic crashes are high, even for the alert driver…"
I found this very helpful in how I now look at being tired or driving with someone who is tired too. An informed conscience makes a good way for better discernment :thumbsup::.

I think that driving when sleepy could be on the same level as drinking and then driving. Our reflexes are slower when we are very tired. Also driving too fast or speaking on the phone could be occasions of sin as it means we are not in full control of the car and therefore more likely to have an accident and injure someone.

If you were aware of not being “up to speed,” so to speak, then you should have pulled over. Slower speed is dangerous, too. A car vs a body, never good. please pull over at the slightist indication. there is no harm in doing so; easier to deal with than your conscience for more serious repercussions.

I was driven into a utility pole because someone would not pull over for that cat nap.
broken chest. Cat naps do not cause agonizing pain. PLEASE. pull over.

This was on a UK motorway where you can’t just pull over on the side of the carriageway, you would have to either pull off at the next junction and find a place to stop, or drive on to the next service station. If you check out my original post I did stop for a break and a coffee.

As an update to my original post I did manage to speak to a priest about this, he replied that he didn’t think it was seriously sinful, which was the main question I was looking to be answered when I made the original post.

I apologize. And I spoke from painful experience, thus I read your post too quickly.

Again, I apologize

No worries. :smiley:


I had this happen last week, I had a long drive and a very long work day, I was on the expressway, not many cars around, and I dozed off a couple times for a few seconds, and found I was switching lanes (wandering), the last time this happened, I wandered over to the right and suddenly realized I was inches away from the rear tires of a semi truck, thankfully, I recovered and nothing happened, from then on, I turned the radio up loud, opened my window fully…it was pretty scary!

Well, if you are aware that you might be a danger to others and chose to keep driving. maybe.
Experiments have shown that driving while tired is as bad or almost as bad, depending on degree, as DWI.

Frankly, that kind of driving is stupid and dangerous. It could have resulted in death or injury to yourself or others.

I would consider deliberately driving while sleepy to be a sin, just as bad as driving under the influence or using a phone while driving.

I agree, it was stupid, but I could not just take off work to go home and sleep.

Its not really that I was tired either, I had slept 7+ hours the night before, but something about the dull road noise, driving for hours on almost empty highway, that in itself made me sleepy.

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