Drowsy driving is a serious and often underestimated threat. Unlike other forms of impaired driving, like drunk or distracted driving, its risks are not always obvious. Yet, it can be just as deadly.
Several factors contribute to drowsy driving, and understanding them is important when learning more about this topic.
With 1 in 25 adult drivers falling asleep behind the wheel in the last 30 days, it is clear that lack of a good night’s sleep can contribute to serious accidents. When individuals do not get enough sleep, they become fatigued, making it difficult to stay awake behind the wheel. The body’s need for rest can overpower even the strongest willpower.
Long commutes are another contributing factor. People who spend hours on the road, especially during late or early hours, are more prone to drowsy driving. Monotonous highway driving can lull drivers into a dangerous state of drowsiness.
Irregular sleep patterns
Erratic sleep patterns can wreak havoc on a driver’s alertness. Shift workers, for example, often struggle with irregular sleep schedules, making them vulnerable to drowsy driving incidents during their commute home.
Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can significantly increase the risk of drowsy driving. These conditions disrupt sleep quality, leaving individuals feeling fatigued during the day and making it difficult to stay focused on the road.
Certain medications, even over-the-counter ones, can cause drowsiness as a side effect. Drivers taking these medications should be aware of the potential danger and avoid driving when feeling drowsy.
Alcohol and substance use
The use of alcohol or drugs can exacerbate drowsy driving risks. Combining substances with fatigue can impair a driver’s abilities even further, leading to poor decision-making and reaction times.
Lack of awareness
Many individuals underestimate the dangers of drowsy driving or believe they can push through their fatigue. This lack of awareness can lead to poor judgment and dangerous driving habits.
Staying aware of how common crashes and collisions are can help drivers make better and wiser decisions when they travel.