Drivers face numerous risks when they hit the road. Drowsy driving might not even make it into their conscious thought, but it is one of the bigger risks these days.
Just how does drowsiness prove a risk to drivers, though? In what ways is it a problem?
Drunk vs. drowsy driving
The CDC discusses drowsy driving and the impact it can have on driver safety. Drowsiness actually affects drivers in a way similar to intoxication, first and foremost. Many people do not know this, but driving without enough sleep can essentially amount to driving drunk.
Drunk and drowsy drivers both, for example, share a number of major issues. They both struggle with risk perception and reaction times, and cannot often predict potential dangers in the same way a sober or fully awake driver can manage.
The main risk of drowsy driving
However, drunk drivers have an additional risk that intoxicated drivers do not. This is the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
This can come in the form of a driver entirely losing consciousness for seconds at a time, or it can come in microsleep, which lasts 1 to 3 seconds. Either of these issues can potentially cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle.
Drivers may end up driving into oncoming traffic, or they could drive off of the side of the road. Due to the severity of these crashes, many drowsy driving incidents that involve the driver falling asleep end in a tragic injury or even death. This is why understanding the true risks of drowsy driving is so important.