When you hit the road, it is important to know that just about anything can potentially influence your safety as a driver. This includes the state of wellness you are in both physically and mentally, including how much sleep you get.
Drowsy driving does not often get the spotlight as much as other forms of dangerous driving, but it can pose just as much danger.
The effects of drowsy driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out the many parts of drowsy driving that cause it to hold such peril for drivers. It actually has many effects on drivers that closely mimic or even exactly replicate the effects that intoxicated drivers deal with. Some shared traits between both drivers include an inability to predict danger, slowed reflexes, delayed reaction times and confusion.
Falling asleep at the wheel
Of course, drowsy drivers have an additional risk: microsleep. This occurs when a driver cannot physically stay awake and their body forces them into unconsciousness for brief periods of 1 to 3 seconds. Unfortunately, it only takes 3 seconds to cover the distance of a football field when driving on the highway, meaning a lot can happen during any one of these bursts of sleep.
Drivers can also fall asleep at the wheel for longer periods of time, rendering them incapable of reacting to any dangers or interacting safely with their surroundings. Many fatal crashes occur because a sleeping driver either crosses over the meridian into oncoming traffic or accidentally drives off the side of the road into ditches, trees and so on. These are just some of the reasons why drowsy driving endangers everyone.