Drowsiness is a major issue that impacts the safety not only of the drowsy driver but anyone else on the road with them.
But exactly how does drowsiness impact drivers? In what ways do these dangers manifest?
What drowsiness feels like
The CDC discusses the impact of drowsiness on the safety of drivers. First, it is important for drivers to understand that driving drowsy can actually impact a victim in ways similar to driving while intoxicated. Many of these drivers will struggle with attentiveness and slowed reflexes. It is also harder to point out encroaching dangers or react to them appropriately.
Next, drowsy drivers are also at risk of microsleep. These bursts of unconsciousness that last anywhere from 1 to 3 seconds allow for drivers to travel a distance of a football field when traveling at freeway speeds, all without having their eyes on the road. It is even possible for drivers to fall asleep fully, rendering them incapable of reacting to anything for much longer stretches of time.
The crashes drowsy drivers have
In these moments, drivers end up in some of the worst crashes. For example, a driver may end up veering off the road and into a ditch or a tree line. They could also cross the meridian between traffic and cause a head-on crash, which involves high levels of fatalities and serious injuries. It is also common to rear end cars due to not noticing when they have braked ahead.
Thus, drowsy driving has a huge impact on driver safety and all drivers should understand this before getting behind the wheel without having enough sleep.