Drunk and distracted driving both have heavy penalties waiting for offenders. But what about driving while drowsy? Fatigue has a surprisingly high number of risks that come with it, which all drivers should be aware of.
There are a number of threats that stem from driver fatigue, and they do not have to include actually falling asleep at the wheel in order to be dangerous. The U.S. Center for Disease Control stated that accidents can happen with driver fatigue due to a slower reaction time, slower decision making, and the driver having a harder time paying attention to the road. It was also stated that drivers who don’t get enough sleep are likely to drive drowsy, but that there are other common causes as well. Shift workers and drivers on sedating medicines can also drive drowsy, as well as people with untreated sleep disorders. Commercial truck drivers are also very susceptible to driving while drowsy.
However, falling asleep at the wheel is also an effect of tired driving. A recent study has shown that about 4.2% of an estimated 150,000 adults in 19 states have reported sleeping at the wheel at least once over the last 30 days before the survey was taken. It was shown that those sleeping six or less hours a night were more prone to report this. Just looking at drowsy driving alone, it was shown in a National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration survey that about 2.5% of fatal accidents and 2% of total crash injuries have involved drowsy driving.
Even though drowsy driving gets less attention than drunk and distracted driving, it is still just as dangerous.