In America, there is no siren quite like the open road. While many people will spend their time extolling on the dangers of cell phone use in cars, drowsy driving is largely ignored, despite the fact that it contributes to thousands of auto accidents annually.
According to some reports, exhausted drivers contribute to as many as 6,000 fatal road accidents every year. And the question remains: why is drowsy driving so dangerous, and what can we do to stop it?
What causes exhausted drivers to get behind the wheel?
Not driving when you are tired seems like an intuitive decision, but many drivers simply do not have the option or have pressing reasons that make the risk seem worthwhile. Drowsy drivers are often on their way home from late work shifts or are driving commercial vehicles at night. This also accounts for the amount of sleep-related truck accidents that occur in the United States.
Many sleep-related accidents are also directly related to single passenger driving, meaning that the driver is the only person in the car. This is the case for over 80% of drowsy driving accidents. Without someone else to point out the risks of exhaustion, share driving responsibilities and otherwise occupy your attention, the risks of falling asleep at the wheel increase dramatically.
Falling asleep at the wheel is extremely dangerous
This seems like a simple statement, but the risks are, in fact, much greater. Drowsy drivers are unlikely to break before an accident, leading to higher velocity impacts, and they are more likely to drive large trucks and other commercial vehicles. This means the sheer force of a crash can be magnitudes higher than a regular accident, and the injuries that result are worse as well.
Until the day that we treat drowsy driving like distracted driving, the risk will continue, and people will need to rely on personal injury protections to help get them through their accidents.