Why do drowsy drivers pose such a risk?

California drivers like you understand that the roads are full of dangers. While you have control over some of them, others fall outside of your control. Even if you can predict them and prepare for them, you cannot always prevent them. 

Drowsy driving falls under this category. While you may recognize the signs of a drowsy driver, it is hard to prepare for encountering one on the road. 

Drowsy driving versus intoxicated driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discuss the dangers tied to drowsy driving. Drowsy drivers often have the same level of performance on the road as people who drive under the influence. This potentially startling fact is new information to many people. They may think drowsy driving is safe or even normal. 

The widespread belief that drowsy driving is not dangerous is one of the things that make it such a risk. The more people believe that, the more drowsy drivers there are. This increases the amount of crashes related to drowsy driving. 

Physical symptoms and effects

Then, there is the impact of drowsiness on the driver. Some of the effects of drowsiness include: 

  • Inattentiveness 
  • Inability to spot or react to dangers 
  • Slowed reflexes 
  • Slowed problem solving capabilities 
  • Difficulties focusing 

Drowsy drivers also suffer from microsleep. This means that when they close their eyes, they may doze off for a few seconds. In 3 seconds, a driver travels the length of a football field on the highway. Even a few seconds of sleep could prove deadly. 

Drowsy drivers also fall asleep behind the wheel entirely. When this happens, you see deadly crashes as drivers cross the meridian between highway lanes. But even without those extremes, drowsy drivers could easily cause you harm.