Drivers understand that certain choices and behaviors on the part of the person behind the wheel can have a grave impact on their safety. Distracted driving behaviors like texting while driving received a particularly bad reputation in recent years.
But what about drowsiness? How does getting behind the wheel when sleepy affect the safety of the driver and other cars on the road?
The frequency of drowsy driving incidents
The National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration discusses the role of drowsiness in many crashes. Many drivers do not realize just how much of a risk drowsy driving can pose. This is due in part to a gross misconception of how safe it is. Many people will get behind the wheel without enough sleep on an almost daily basis, due to the tight and demanding schedules of modern life. With hardly enough time to sleep eight hours while getting everything done, people across the country knowingly sacrifice sleep understanding that they will feel exhausted in the morning.
But since so many people drive drowsy to get to work, it sets a false standard of safety. People think that since they do this every day, that means they will never get into a crash. But all it takes is one single crash to have life-altering consequences.
The dangers of drowsiness
Drowsiness robs a driver of their ability to react to oncoming danger. It lowers a driver’s reflexes and awareness, slowing their ability to react even if they notice something dangerous ahead. On top of that, drivers may even fall asleep at the wheel, rendering them entirely incapable of reacting to anything at all. This is when the most deadly accidents occur, such as drivers going over a meridian on a highway and into oncoming traffic. It is also why drowsy driving poses a much bigger risk than most people seem to think.