As a driver, it is important to understand all the riskiest behaviors you could engage in on the road. Some stand out above the rest as obvious contenders, such as intoxicated driving or texting while driving.
But what about drowsy driving? This form of distraction is also potentially lethal, but just how does it put drivers like you at risk?
Physical effects of drowsiness
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examines the impact of drowsiness on driver safety. Drowsiness has physical, mental and even behavioral impacts on drivers of all types. The more sleep-deprived you are, the higher these risks often get.
Physically, you could struggle to keep your eyes open. You may find your reactions sluggish. This can include crucial things like braking, steering or otherwise reacting to dangers that appear in your path. You may even accidentally pull the emergency brakes or make similar mistakes.
Mental and behavioral reactions
Mentally, you will struggle to focus and concentrate. You will often find your attention drifting. You may feel incapable of working out solutions to problems you face on the road. You could fail to notice obvious obstructions or dangers right in your path.
Behaviorally, you may find yourself feeling more snappish and aggressive than usual. This can lead to you making unfortunate snap decisions or even engaging in aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating other drivers who irritate you.
Together, these issues contribute to the very real possibility of getting involved in a crash. This is why driving drowsy poses such a big risk to you and everyone you share the road with.