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Does drowsiness increase a driver’s risk of crashing?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2021 | Car Accidents

When you hit the road, you understand that every little decision you make, every little thing you do, can directly impact your safety. Not only does it impact your safety, but it can put those around you at risk, too.

However, not all drivers have an awareness of every single risky driving behavior they could participate in. In fact, many drivers do not even realize the sheer dangers that drowsy driving alone can bring about.

Operating machinery while drowsy

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looks at drowsy driving and the impact it has. When you are drowsy, the NHTSA will suggest you stay away from any car. After all, most people know not to operate machinery when exhausted. What they do not often consider is the fact that a car counts as “machinery”.

Drowsiness greatly increases the chance of a driver crashing, which is why the NHTSA strongly suggests against it. How does this happen? Simply put, drivers who are too tired simply do not have the mental wherewithal to make good choices. Drowsy drivers will often struggle to identify and react to dangers, suffer from slowed reflexes, and struggle with confusion. This makes it hard or even impossible to safely swerve oncoming dangers.

Sleeping at the wheel

Drowsy drivers also risk falling asleep at the wheel, which completely robs one of the ability to react to their surroundings at all. Many of the deadliest crashes occur when a driver falls asleep at the wheel, either driving off the road entirely or driving across the meridian into oncoming traffic. Thus, not only does drowsiness increase one’s chances of crashing in general, but it also increases the chance of suffering from a severe or even deadly crash.