Is microsleeping a problem?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

These days, more drivers understand the risks of drowsy driving than ever before. This includes a better understanding of things like microsleep, too.

But what exactly is it, anyway? Why does it cause so many problems for drivers?

Defining microsleeping

WebMD talks about the true dangers of microsleeping. Generally speaking, microsleeping is actually the body’s attempt at helping itself. When a person goes too long without sleeping, the body may attempt to force itself to sleep instead.

Microsleep lasts for bursts of one to three seconds on average, with some bursts lasting less or more time. These bursts tend to happen until the person actually gets the chance to fall asleep fully. Unfortunately, no amount of wakefulness tips or tricks can truly help keep a person awake when they get to this point of exhaustion.

Pinpointing the danger

So why is this such a dangerous problem? In short, when a person drives at 60 miles an hour, they can cross the length of a football field in just 3 seconds. That is a lot of distance covered in an extremely short amount of time.

Needless to say, when someone falls asleep for up to 3 seconds behind the wheel, they can cover that enormous amount of distance. Except they will likely run into obstacles along the way, which they cannot react to as they are unconscious.

For example, most of the worst accidents happen when someone drives off the side of the road or into oncoming traffic. Many of these incidents happen when a driver falls asleep, thus solidifying it as a risky driving behavior.


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