Drivers must maintain vigilance when hitting the road, as this is one of the best ways to prevent crashes. Everything from small distractions to not being in the best physical shape can potentially impact the safety of a drive.
In particular, drowsiness often contributes to crashes in a much larger way than most people anticipate.
What drowsy drivers struggle with
Sleep Foundation examines the impact that drowsiness has on individual drivers. Drowsiness actually affects the five senses in a way very similar to intoxication and can reap similar repercussions when driving.
For example, drowsy drivers have a harder time concentrating. They struggle with reflexes and cannot always identify potential threats before encountering them or having to deal with them directly. They suffer from slowed reaction times that can make the difference between stopping before hitting another car or ramming right into them.
The failure of wakefulness tricks
“Wakefulness tricks”, i.e. tips and tricks designed to help “keep you awake”, also do not work as intended. Rather, they give drivers a false sense of security that they can rely on these tricks to stay awake when the tricks do not work for long if they ever work at all.
Unfortunately, with so many people thinking they can beat drowsiness, it leads to more drowsy drivers hitting the road. This can up everyone’s chances of getting into a crash significantly. If drowsy driving held the same stigma as drunk or even distracted driving, the rate and frequency of these crashes would likely diminish.
In the meantime, drowsy drivers continue to pose a threat to themselves and everyone they share the road with.