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What makes drowsy driving so deadly?

Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of deadly crashes. Not only that, but every year the numbers seem to increase. This happens in spite of attempts to reduce the impact of drowsy driving on roadway safety. 

What is it about drowsy driving that causes these numbers to be so high? Is there anything you can do to lower your own personal risk? 

The impacts of drowsiness

The Sleep Foundation looks at the impact drowsiness has on drivers and driver safety. Drowsiness actually has a similar impact on drivers as intoxication. Some of the shared effects of drowsiness and intoxication include: 

  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Slowed reaction times 
  • “Cloudy” memory 
  • Easy to distract and quick to lose focus 
  • Reduced problem solving capabilities 

On top of that, a big danger comes in the form of microsleep. These are short bursts of several minutes at a time in which the driver briefly loses consciousness. Worse still, it is possible for a driver to completely fall asleep at the wheel. Needless to say, the damage an unconscious person does often outranks the damage done by intoxicated but awake individuals. 

The prevalence of drowsy driving

The prevalence of drowsy driving also contributes to how deadly it is. Unlike intoxicated driving, drowsy driving does not have specific laws designated to target it. People speak freely of all the times they drive drowsy. In some workplace cultures, employees expect to arrive without getting enough sleep. 

Campaigns continue to mount and spread the message of the dangers of drowsy driving. Until the message spreads, you can protect yourself by getting enough sleep and keeping an eye out for suspicious driving behaviors. 

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