Distracted driving behaviors have a well-documented history of high risk. However, people do not usually include drowsy driving in the list of these behaviors.
Drowsy driving is actually one of the riskiest distracted driving behaviors, and not least of all because of its high levels of public acceptance. But what else makes it a danger?
Impacts of drowsiness
The CDC looks at drowsy driving as an issue for all drivers. Generally, drowsy driving involves getting behind the wheel without getting enough sleep. Drowsiness can impact drivers in a way similar to intoxication if the driver has gotten very little sleep. This can include:
- Delayed reaction times
- Slowed mental processing
- The inability to detect danger
- Making more reckless decisions
The influence of public opinion
A contributing factor to the danger levels of drowsy driving is also the public opinion of it. Many people do not view driving while drowsy as a truly dangerous act. Some equate it to driving while tired, which is not quite the same thing. Others believe that since they drove drowsy before and nothing happened, nothing will happen any time they do it.
Others still think that they can rely on “wakefulness tricks”. This includes things like rolling down the window, blasting the air conditioning or playing loud music. However, these tricks only work in the short term and a person can still fall asleep if drowsy enough.
In order to help reduce the rate of drowsy driving crashes, it is important to make their danger more well known and decrease the number of people who think it is okay. This is a surefire way to start saving lives.