Why does drowsiness cause crashes?

Drowsiness is one of the constant dangers you face on the road. In fact, drowsy driving may actually pose more of a danger than texting while driving, and it creates similar issues to intoxication. It forces drivers into unconsciousness.

Drowsy driving is one of the most common dangerous behaviors behind the wheel.

Effects of drowsiness

The Sleep Foundation takes a look at how drowsy driving impacts driver safety. Drowsiness affects your body in a way similar to alcohol. Just a few of the shared effects include:

  • An inability to concentrate
  • Blurred vision
  • Slowed reflexes
  • An inability to spot and appropriately react to danger

But there is no way for an officer to tell if you are driving drowsy. Without a BAC level that is over the limit, officers often release drowsy drivers back onto the road after pulling them over.

Risk of microsleep

Drivers may also experience microsleep or fully fall asleep at the wheel. A microsleep happens when you lose consciousness for two or three seconds. Even a few seconds is enough time to cause serious damage on the road. This is particularly true on the highway. In 3 seconds at highway speeds, a vehicle can travel the distance of a football field.

Many drowsy drivers end up in deadly collisions because of this. You may see no visible warning before their vehicles drive over the meridian into oncoming traffic. They may drive off the side of the road into a ditch. They also often plow into cars in front of them that they do not notice already stopped.

If you do see a car weaving in traffic, it may be a good idea to have someone in your vehicle call law enforcement and report the danger.