Distracted driving serves as one of the biggest potential risks on the road. This risk gets acknowledged by many major road safety organizations and drivers at large.
So why does drowsy driving often escape the strongest and loudest criticism? After all, it can cause just as much harm as other forms of distracted driving, like texting while driving. In fact, in some cases, it can cause even more.
The impact of drowsiness
The NHTSA looks into the impact of distractions on drivers. Specifically, they look at drowsiness as it impacts drivers. Many drivers do not understand the true impact of drowsiness. In reality, it can affect the body similarly to intoxication.
Victims often suffer from delayed physical reaction times, slower reflexes, and a harder time identifying and reacting to dangers on a mental level.
Victims can even struggle with something called microsleep. This involves losing consciousness and falling asleep against one’s will or without even noticing for up to 3 seconds each time. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is important to note that a car on the freeway can cover the length of a football field in just 3 seconds.
In short: 3 seconds can still cause a lot of damage, especially when going fast on the road. It only takes 3 seconds to careen off the side of the road or to drift across the median and into oncoming traffic, which is one of the most deadly types of impact on the freeway.
This short and potentially deadly window is just one of many reasons why drowsy driving poses such a huge risk.