How does drowsiness contribute to a crash?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

In this day and age, drivers who text behind the wheel get almost as much flack as intoxicated drivers, and for good reason. But did you know that texting while driving is not the only extremely risky and common distracted driving behavior of the day?

Drowsy driving is another common and equally dangerous distracted driving behavior that can greatly increase the chance of getting into a serious or even fatal crash.

Drowsiness shares similarities with intoxication

The Sleep Foundation discusses how drowsiness contributes to crashes. Specifically, drowsy driving can increase the chance of a driver getting into a serious or fatal crash and increases the potential of involvement from other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians in the area.

Drowsy driving shares similarities with intoxicated driving and texting while driving. In specific, drowsy drivers often struggle with concentration and cannot focus. They have slowed reflexes and do not react to unexpected dangers in their surroundings quickly or smartly. It is also hard for drowsy drivers to predict the behaviors of drivers around them or notice potentially risky changes in their environments.

Experiencing microsleep

On top of that, drowsiness can culminate in falling asleep at the wheel or micro-sleeping. Microsleeping involves falling asleep for very short periods of time, usually only a few seconds. But if a driver is on the freeway when this occurs, they still travel the distance of a football field every three seconds. This can easily lead to cars careening off the road, drifting into other lanes, or even crossing a meridian into oncoming traffic.

Any of these reasons can create or lead to a crash, and a potentially fatal one at that.