A long day at work or a continual problem with not getting enough sleep at night can leave a driver feeling sleepy while on the road.
However, although you may assume this would not impact someone’s cognition that much, one person’s drowsiness can become a serious problem for other vehicles.
Hands off the wheel
According to the United States Department of Transportation, a driver being able to keep his or her hands on the wheel and feet on the brakes can mean the difference between a crash and a regular drive. Many people on highways or other busy roads tend to let their hands slide down and onto their laps if they become drowsy and fall asleep.
This lack of grip can greatly reduce someone’s reaction time to obstacles in his or her way, which can increase your chance of a car accident.
A few seconds is all it takes to run into another vehicle if your eyes are not open. When drivers become drowsy, they tend to blink or shut their eyes more as time goes on. Even a few hours of lost sleep can lead to a serious crash if a fast-moving car travels for a couple of seconds without an awake driver at the wheel.
As a driver becomes more drowsy, he or she may begin to think about other situations or places. Being unable to react in time to oncoming traffic can lead to a car sideswiping another vehicle or running off the road.
Even drivers that may appear fully alert could be mentally distracted and tired as they continue on the road, which makes it hard to tell how to react. Knowing the ways drowsy driving impacts others is important as you share the road.