Many distracted driving behaviors impact driver safety. One of the most common is drowsy driving. Unfortunately, this form of distracted driving is on the rise lately. More drowsy drivers get into dangerous or fatal crashes every year.
But what is it that makes drowsy driving so dangerous? How does a drowsy driver contribute to the annual crash count?
The impact of drowsiness on drivers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discuss the impact of drowsiness on a driver’s safety. Drowsiness often has a similar impact on the human body as intoxication. Thus, drowsy drivers may display many of the same symptoms. This includes:
- Easy distraction
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Unable to detect and react to danger in advance
- Poor reflexes
How drowsy drivers react to their surroundings
Some drowsy drivers space out so badly that they even forget to abide by the rules of the road. Many drowsy drivers run red lights or stop signs. They may drive through a crosswalk without ensuring it is empty first. They may also take blind turns without waiting to make sure it is safe to go.
Of course, drowsy drivers are also at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. Many experience microsleep, too. This involves brief 1-3 second periods of unconsciousness. Unfortunately, that is still plenty of time to get into big trouble, especially when traveling at high speeds on the freeway.
Together, these factors make it difficult or impossible to react and respond appropriately to danger. Drowsy drivers easily get into situations that can put their lives and the lives of other drivers at risk. Unfortunately, this trend will continue as long as drowsy drivers hit the road.