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Can drowsiness impact driver safety?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2021 | Car Accidents |

Distracted driving behaviors often pose potentially lethal risks for everyone involved. Not only is the driver in danger, but so is everyone else sharing space on the road with them. This is particularly true of drowsy driving.

Unfortunately, the risks of drowsy driving are not well-known or circulated. Thus, the first step toward safety is to recognize the damage that drowsy driving can have.

Physical effects of drowsiness

Sleep Foundation discusses the impact of drowsiness on driver safety. Drowsiness can affect the body in a similar way to alcohol. Your inhibitions lower. You may struggle to concentrate or focus. Your attention may drift. You can struggle to react to your surroundings, including noticing danger before it approaches.

In some cases, this difficulty paying attention can extend to laws of the road. You may forget to stop at a red light. You could take a turn without pausing to look both ways. You might go through a crosswalk without ensuring pedestrians are not using it.

Sleeping at the wheel

On top of that, drowsy drivers experience microsleep sometimes. They may even entirely fall asleep behind the wheel. This eliminates all possibility of reacting to danger or paying attention to the road. Many fatal accidents are head-on crashes that involve a vehicle traveling over the meridian. In many of these cases, experts believe the driver who crossed may have fallen asleep.

Unfortunately, drowsy driving does not have as many laws as other forms of distracted driving. Experts estimate potential crashes and fatalities may continue to grow unless awareness grows, too. Until then, drowsiness will continue to impact driver safety all across the roads.