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What is the biggest risk factor in sleepy drivers?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Drowsy driving has gained attention over the years as one of the biggest risks that threaten driver safety in the modern day.

While many of the actions taken by drowsy drivers may put lives at risk, one risk factor stands out above the rest: sleeping at the wheel.

Sleeping at the wheel

According to the CDC, drowsy driving ranks as an enormously risky driving factor. Many studies show that it impacts perception in a way similar to intoxicated driving. Drowsy drivers struggle to perceive dangers, have slow reaction times and cannot problem-solve quickly.

However, the biggest risk comes in the form of sleeping at the wheel. Drivers may experience something called microsleep, in which they fall asleep at the wheel for small bursts of time lasting from 1 to 3 seconds. This may not seem like a lot, but when driving at the speeds typical on the highway, drivers can cross the length of a football field in 3 seconds.

Drivers can also fall asleep behind the wheel for much longer periods of time, too. This creates major issues because drivers can no longer interact with or react to their surroundings when asleep.

Sleepiness tied to deadly crashes

Many of the most deadly and traumatic crashes happen when drivers fall asleep at the wheel because they cannot react to the dangers that lie ahead. Many drivers will drive off the road, or into oncoming traffic. At the speeds on the highway, these crashes can easily result in fatal injuries.

This is why drowsy driving is such a major issue for drivers to this day.