How do drowsy drivers put you at risk?

You do what you can to protect yourself on the road. Unfortunately, other drivers present an unpredictable factor. This is particularly true of distracted drivers, such as those who drive drowsy. 

What sort of dangers do drowsy drivers pose? Why is it that drowsy driving is one of the most dangerous reckless driving behaviors anyone can partake in? 

Cognitive impairments of drowsy driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention take a look at drowsy driving. This happens when a driver gets behind the wheel without getting enough sleep the night before. The CDC generally clocks this at being 7 to 9 hours of sleep, with more being better than less. If someone drives with less than 5 hours of sleep, it officially counts as sleep deprivation. 

Drowsy drivers often experience the same cognitive difficulties that intoxicated drivers do. For example, some shared issues both types of drivers have include: 

  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Difficulties predicting or preventing dangers 
  • Slowed reflexes 
  • Muddled or confused thinking 

Falling asleep at the wheel

On top of that, drowsy drivers also experience microsleep. These are brief periods of unconsciousness that last a few seconds at a time. Unfortunately, a deadly crash can happen in just a few seconds. Drowsy drivers may entirely fall asleep at the wheel, too. This leads to tragic crashes, such as when a sleeping driver crosses he meridian into oncoming traffic. 

Drowsy driving is not illegal in the same way intoxicated driving is, which is another reason it poses such great danger. There is no true incentive for drowsy drivers to stay off the road. In the end, this could cause you immeasurable harm.