When you hit the road, it is important to know where all potential risk factors lie. Naturally, you want to look out for intoxicated drivers. But there is another, potentially bigger risk: distracted drivers. 

Distraction comes in many forms. For example, texting while driving is a form of distraction. But one form is just as deadly but discussed less often. This is drowsy driving. 

The prevalence of drowsy driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention look into what makes drowsy driving such a risk. First, it is more widespread than almost any other type of risky driving behavior. This may tie to the fact that there are no laws specifically addressing drowsy driving, unlike intoxicated driving. Other forms of distracted driving also have laws against them, like the use of electronic devices. 

There is also a prevalent culture that condones and even supports drowsy driving. Many workers resign themselves to the idea that they will have to drive drowsy at least once due to packed work schedules. Some industries even encourage drowsy driving, like the trucking industry. By incentivizing workers to cover more ground in less time, they actively disregard a trucker’s healthy sleep schedule. 

How drowsiness affects drivers

Drowsy driving also shares many similarities with intoxicated driving, which is the second big risk. Just a few shared traits include: 

  • Slowed reflexes and reaction time 
  • Confusion and muddied thinking 
  • Inability to perceive or react to danger 

Also, drowsy drivers may experience microsleep or even nod off at the wheel. Any period of unconsciousness greatly contributes to the risk of all drivers. As the number of drowsy driving crashes continue to climb, it grows more important to understand these risk points.