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How does sleep deprivation impact driver safety?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Drivers understand that distractions cause major accidents on the road. However, some do not yet realize that drowsiness counts as a distraction.

In fact, drowsy driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving today. It causes numerous dangerous crashes and fatalities across the nation.

Understanding drowsy driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention talks about the impact of drowsy driving on driver safety.

First: what is drowsy driving? This is the act of getting behind the wheel without having enough sleep first. Drowsy drivers exhibit many symptoms that intoxicated drivers do, including diminished attention spans, trouble focusing and concentrating, lowered problem-solving skills and slowed reflexes.

Drowsy driving can happen to any driver at any skill level. There is no way to “get better” at driving while drowsy. On top of that, wakefulness tips and tricks that some drivers swear by actually do not work in the long term. The only cure for drowsiness is for the body to get some sleep.

The only cure

The best cure is to get enough sleep before ever hitting the road. However, in emergency situations, drivers should pull over into rest stops and take a short nap before continuing.

If drivers still push forward while exhausted, they risk several things including microsleep. This happens when a driver falls asleep for bursts of 1 to 3 seconds. During this time, some of the most dangerous crashes occur, including cars driving off the side of the road or over the meridian into oncoming traffic.

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