In America, tired drivers provoke serious concerns throughout the country because the outcomes of drowsy driving can be dangerous and even fatal. Drowsy driving occurs when a driver has had far too little sleep or is experiencing symptoms of being drowsy because of sleep disorders, night shifts at work, alcohol consumption, or medications.

60% of people in the U.S. have driven when they have felt sleepy. A shocking one out of every three drivers has actually fallen asleep while operating their car. Not only is it a prevalent issue, but it’s incredibly hazardous.

Drowsy Driving Can Be as Dangerous as a DUI

It can be hard for a driver to recognize when their body has become too tired to drive, especially if a person typically has to work late and drives home at a late hour. However, the dangers of driving tired are real and can be equally as dangerous as drunk driving. The most hazardous outcome is if a person falls asleep while driving. However, feelings of tiredness can impact a driver’s safe driving ability even if they are still awake.

Drowsiness can impact a driver’s capacity to make good choices. Being tired also makes it much more difficult for a driver to focus on what’s occurring in the street ahead of them. Drowsiness also impacts reaction time significantly if sudden steering or braking is necessary. Studies have found that approximately 70 million people in the United States regularly get a lower quality of sleep because of a sleep disorder, so drowsiness is a serious concern.

Common Factors of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving collisions take place most frequently during the late night or in the early morning hours since these periods are when the body naturally is ready for rest. Drowsy driving is also common in the afternoon, and older drivers are the ones most likely to have a collision during the day that was caused by sleepiness.

Speed is a major factor in drowsy driving collisions. These often take place on a highway when the cars are traveling quickly. However, crashes caused by drowsy driving also take place at slower velocities as well.  

Drivers’ actions make a big difference and are not the same as they’d typically be if the driver were alert and focused. Often, drowsy drivers won’t be able to brake as fast or avoid collisions as well as alert drivers can. It’s also not uncommon for the driver to swerve out of their lane.

What Are the Warning Signs?

If you are concerned that you might be driving drowsy, pay close attention to the cautionary signs. If you find yourself drifting in and out of your lane, passing the exit you needed, or having trouble remembering the stretch of road you’ve just driven, you could be too drowsy to drive. Also, many highways have a rumble strip located on the outside of the lane, which will alert a driver if they swerve too far.

In summary, next time you are exhausted but need to drive it might be best to reconsider or to have someone else play chauffeur. It’s not worth the risk.