Every year, countless individuals hop into their cars, thinking they can power through their fatigue and reach their destination without any issues. However, most don’t realize the sheer danger they’re putting themselves and others in by driving while feeling drowsy.
The implications of drowsy driving can be as severe as driving under the influence. And, just as is the case with drunk driving, drowsy driving is a fully preventable problem.
How fatigue affects a driver’s response time
Drowsiness significantly impairs reaction times, much like alcohol or drugs might. When a person is fatigued, the brain processes information slower, making it harder to react quickly to sudden changes in the road or traffic conditions.
The potential for microsleep
When someone’s extremely tired, they can experience “microsleeps.” These are short, involuntary periods of inattention or sleep, lasting a few seconds. When driving 55 miles per hour, five seconds is enough time for a car to travel the length of a football field, depending on the speed. That’s a long distance to be unaware of what’s happening on the road.
Impaired decision-making skills
Fatigue doesn’t just slow a driver’s physical reactions. It also impairs their cognitive functions. Decision-making skills and judgment are compromised, leading to poor choices on the road. It can often be impossible to react appropriately to hazards on the road because of these missing skills.
Victims of drowsy driving crashes should ensure they get medical care right away. They may seek compensation to help them recover the costs of medical care, missed work and other financial damages. State laws limit how long victims have to take action, so it’s critical to avoid wasting time.