While behind the wheel, all drivers share an obligation to preserve the safety of themselves and others on the road. However, if a person drives while fatigued, he or she may put everyone at risk.
Like driving under the influence, fatigued driving is reckless driving.
After being awake for 17 to 19 hours, your cognitive function is similar to when your BAC is .05%. While driving, you may have reduced attention, impaired decision-making abilities and slower reaction times. Inattentive drivers have a higher tendency to make errors and poor judgment while behind the wheel. They may not notice a pedestrian suddenly crossing the street or be able to brake fast enough for a car ahead.
As you become tired, you may find you can no longer perceive the surrounding environment correctly. You may miss road signs or lack awareness of how many other vehicles share the road. If you have perceptual or attentional deficits, you can create a hazardous situation that leads to accidents.
While driving, you may overlook your microsleep episodes. When tired, your brain may shut down for a few seconds at a time. Most people overlook the brief episodes of microsleep. Behind the wheel, this becomes dangerous because even a moment’s lapse in attention can result in a catastrophic accident.
When tired, you have a higher chance of becoming drowsy and nodding off behind the wheel. If you want to prevent an accident, you must have your attention on the road constantly to avoid sudden problems ahead, and it is important to understand the potential risks.