Most drivers understand what behaviors put them at risk. However, many continue to engage in potentially dangerous driving habits, sometimes without even having an awareness that what they do poses a threat to their safety.
Drowsy driving often falls into this category, with many drivers not understanding the exact risk levels of this behavior.
How Does Drowsiness Affect the Body?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examines the ways that drowsiness impacts driver safety. Drowsiness causes the body to react as it would when under the influence. For example, drowsy drivers often struggle with mobility and reflexes. They have a delayed reaction time and cannot notice or process potential dangers around them.
On top of that, drowsy drivers may fall asleep at the wheel either for extended periods of time, or for 1 to 3 second windows of time called “microsleep”. In either case, it completely removes a driver’s ability to take in their surroundings or react to anything at all. Many of the most deadly crashes, such as drivers going through a meridian into oncoming traffic, happen when a driver falls asleep at the wheel.
A Continued and Ongoing Risk
Unfortunately, even as more people come to understand the dangers of drowsy driving, it also continues on as a major problem. Drivers believe it is no big deal, or look at the number of times they have driven drowsy before and turned out fine. This creates a false sense of security which can lead to a driver’s death. After all, no matter how many times someone drives drowsy successfully, it only takes one unsuccessful time to ruin or end a driver’s life.