Drivers face a myriad of potential dangers on the road every day. Some of these dangers may end up harder to avoid than others, while certain risks stem entirely from unnecessary problematic driving behaviors.
Driving while drowsy may act as one of these behaviors, as drowsy driving can easily cause harm to the drowsy driver and anyone they share the road with.
How common is drowsy driving?
The Sleep Foundation examines drowsiness among drivers. This phenomenon occurs when a driver hits the road without getting enough sleep beforehand. Unfortunately, driving while drowsy is not considered a hugely harmful behavior by the general public, which stands in stark contrast to intoxicated driving and some forms of distracted driving.
People generally believe they can drive while tired without suffering from major consequences. In fact, many people do this every day, heading into work while still exhausted due to a poor night’s sleep or going to bed late.
Elevated risks associated with drowsy driving
Unfortunately, drowsiness can still contribute to an elevated risk of crashing even when drivers feel secure. Drowsiness has a similar impact on the senses as intoxication; it can lower reaction times and speed, make it harder to predict oncoming dangers, and contribute to distractions.
Of course, sleepy drivers even have a risk of falling asleep at the wheel. This completely removes a driver’s ability to react to dangers and can result in some of the deadliest collisions, such as head-on crashes when a car drifts into oncoming traffic on a highway.
The general acceptance of drowsy driving as less dangerous contributes to these crashes, too. The more people feel safe with this dangerous behavior, the more they will indulge in it, increasing the odds of crashing.