Drowsiness affects driver safety in numerous ways, yet despite this, campaigns against drowsy driving never seem to reach the heights of campaigns against intoxicated or distracted driving.
But just how does the safety of a driver end up influenced by drowsiness? Is it enough to seriously impact the physical well-being of people on the road?
Drowsy driving and intoxicated driving
The Sleep Foundation looks into drowsy driving and its impact on driver safety. Drowsiness actually has a similar impact on drivers as intoxication and can affect drivers physically and mentally as well. Some shared symptoms both types of drivers may experience include trouble concentrating, difficulties spotting dangers in advance and slowed reflexes.
As you can imagine, those symptoms make it difficult to drive safely. Drivers struggling with drowsiness may even have trouble keeping their eyes open, and could entirely fall asleep behind the wheel. This renders you incapable of reacting to your surroundings in any way and can lead to high risk or even deadly collisions, such as driving off the side of the road or into oncoming traffic.
The prevalence of drowsy driving
Another unique factor that affects driver safety is the prevalence of drowsy driving. Many people mistakenly believe drowsy driving is not as dangerous as it really is, or even consider it an expected or average part of a daily commute. After all, not many adults get a full night of sleep before returning to work the next day, and the same often goes for students.
Unfortunately, the negative impact of drowsy driving will likely continue as long as the public at large does not view it as a credible threat.