Drivers who hit the road without getting enough sleep could potentially jeopardize not only himself or herself, but also anyone else sharing the road with them.
But exactly what makes drowsy driving such a risk? How does this drowsiness impact drivers?
The myth of wakefulness tricks
The CDC discusses the impact of drowsiness on drivers. This impact is often much larger than drivers anticipate.
Many believe they can simply use “wakefulness tricks” in order to beat their exhaustion and stay awake. This includes things like keeping the windows open, blasting cold air or listening to very loud music.
However, while these tricks may work for a short period of time, they cannot permanently overcome exhaustion. The longer a person is on the road with sleep, the higher the chances of them falling asleep behind the wheel or experiencing microsleep. This involves the driver sleeping for one- to three-second bursts especially when they close their eyes.
Losing control of the vehicle
When a driver falls asleep, they have no control over the vehicle. This leads to serious accidents such as a driver leaving the side of the road or crossing the median on a freeway and heading into oncoming traffic. This is why many incidents involving drowsy drivers also have serious or fatal injuries.
Unfortunately, many people have a false sense of security when it comes to driving drowsy which makes them even more likely to hit the road without enough sleep. This willingness to openly engage in such a dangerous behavior is yet another reason why drowsy driving poses such a risk.
To reduce this issue, more people need to understand and acknowledge the true risk that drowsy driving presents.