Many people know the dangers of drunk or distracted driving. However, drowsy driving serves as just as big of a danger, if not an even worse one.
But exactly how does drowsiness impact driving? What should drivers know about the risks they face any time they hit the road while tired?
The effects of drowsiness
CDC talks about the dangers of getting behind the wheel drowsy. Generally speaking, drowsiness can impact a person in a way similar to drugs or alcohol. It slows reflexes and mental reaction times, makes it harder for people to recognize danger, and causes people to act and behave in erratic, dangerous ways.
On top of that, drowsy drivers are at risk of microsleep. This involves falling asleep for one- to three-second bursts, which can result in a driver covering the length of an entire football field while unconscious.
Combined, these two factors make it very difficult for drowsy drivers to stay safe on the road. Worse still, many people talk themselves into thinking that it is not so dangerous because they have driven drowsy safely before.
The failure of wakefulness tips
Others also rely on “wakefulness tips”, which do not actually work in the long term. These tricks and tips, such as blasting cold air or rolling the windows down, may work temporarily. But this just lulls drivers into a sense of false security that can also lead to a crash.
On a whole, drowsy driving takes many lives a year, and every crash is preventable. This is why it is important for people to take driving drowsy as the serious issue it is.