Why does drowsy driving pose such a fatal threat?

| Jan 25, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Drowsy driving continues to rank high on the list of most dangerous driving behaviors. As the years go on, fatalities and injuries from drowsy driving accidents continue to rise. 

But why is drowsy driving such a huge risk? What is it about drowsiness that results in so many deadly crashes? 

Dangerous drowsy driving behaviors

The Sleep Foundation claims that drowsy driving can come with the same risks as intoxicated driving. This alone proves that it holds a great capacity for lethal damage. Some shared traits between intoxicated and drowsy drivers include: 

  • Slowed reflexes 
  • Confusion and muddle-headedness 
  • Difficulty perceiving and reacting to dangers 
  • Potential unconsciousness 

Unconsciousness at the wheel

Drowsy drivers experience an even higher rate of unconsciousness at the wheel. This is part of what contributes to the lethality of drowsy driving crashes. Unconscious drivers cannot perceive any dangers, let alone react to them. This often leads to issues like crossing the median on the freeway. Head-on collisions always have a higher risk of fatality. 

On top of that, a driver can cover huge distances in short spans of time on the freeway. In three seconds, you could cross the entire distance of a football field. Needless to say, this can cause huge issues especially if cars ahead of the drowsy driver begin to slow down. 

The final factor that contributes to lethality is the sheer number of drowsy drivers on the road. Unfortunately, drowsy driving does not have as much pushback as intoxicated driving. Even other forms of distracted driving face greater scrutiny. Until drowsy driving nets more severe penalties, the fatalities tied to it will likely continue to rise.