As a driver, you are likely aware of most of the major dangers that drivers face on the daily. Unfortunately, many of these dangers continue to pose real threats despite the fact that campaigns continually push for more awareness and harsher laws.
Drowsiness is one of these dangers. But it may surprise you to know exactly how much of a risk it really is.
Signs of exhaustion
The Sleep Foundation discusses the way drowsiness can cause crashes. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion actually act in a way similar to intoxication. It prevents your brain and body from functioning at peak form. In fact, drowsy and drunk drivers often share many of the same symptoms. This can include:
- Slow or delayed reflexes
- Trouble concentrating and focusing
- Difficulty identifying threats and reacting to them
- Poor physical coordination or hand-eye coordination
In addition to these standard issues, drowsy drivers also risk falling asleep while driving. This can last anywhere from seconds (known as microsleeping) to minutes. Needless to say, when unconscious, a driver is completely incapable of spotting or reacting to any dangers they might approach.
Risks of falling asleep
Many of the most deadly crashes related to drowsy driving happen when a driver falls asleep. They can run off the road, slam into stopped vehicles or drift across the dividing line and into oncoming traffic.
Unfortunately, drowsy driving incidents continue to rise in recent years. To combat it, many organizations launch campaigns to bring awareness to the issue. But ultimately, the best thing you can do is not get behind the wheel when exhausted and do your best not to normalize it when other people do.