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Does drowsiness lead to higher crash rates?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2021 | Vehicle Accidents

When dealing with drowsiness, a driver may feel confident that they can “just drive through it”. They may have an arsenal of wakefulness tricks to rely on or a past history of driving safely despite any drowsiness.

Unfortunately, though, hitting the road while exhausted actually has a higher rate of dangerous or even deadly crashes than most people think.

The false view of drowsy driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses the rising issue of drowsy driving among drivers. Unfortunately, public opinion tends to believe that drowsy driving is not a hugely dangerous behavior. Many people think they drive drowsy with no problems or hear anecdotes from loved ones, friends and co-workers about their successful drives despite their state of wakefulness.

This false image makes it seem like anyone can drive while tired and be okay. This also couples with the widespread use of “wakefulness tricks”, i.e. tips for staying awake when driving while tired. It can include blasting the air conditioning, driving with the windows down, drinking energy drinks, or listening to loud music.

When wakefulness tricks fail

But unfortunately, drowsiness is something that only sleep cures. Drivers cannot keep it at bay forever no matter what wakefulness tricks and tactics they try. Sooner or later, the tricks stop working and drivers will begin to nod off briefly, whether they notice or not.

Needless to say, this leads to a drastic increase in the chance of crashing. After all, a person travels the distance of a football field in just three seconds while on the freeway. This is more than enough time for a crash to occur for an unsuspecting and potentially snoozing driver.