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Is it dangerous to drive while sleep-deprived?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Driving involves a lot of repetitive motions, making it difficult for some drivers to stay alert behind the wheel. Add a significant lack of sleep to the mix, and the task of staying alert on the road becomes even more challenging.

In this short blog, we discuss the dangerous impact of sleep deprivation on drivers. After reading, you will understand the deadly consequences of sleep deprivation and how you can reduce the risks associated with drowsy driving.

Lack of sleep and driving

In 2017, roughly 91,000 car collisions that were reported to the authorities involved sleepy drivers. These incidents resulted in 800 deaths and 50,000 injuries. The numbers prove that driving while sleep-deprived can have deadly outcomes.

Sleep deprivation can cause microsleeps, which occur when a person falls asleep for only a few seconds. While this condition may seem harmless on its own, it can be dangerous if you drive at high speed. In this scenario, it can be easy for your car to crash into another vehicle or run off the road. Microsleep takes your attention off your surroundings, not giving you the chance to react to road emergencies.

Additionally, lack of sleep can negatively impact decision-making. Compromised decision-making can result in risk-taking on the road.

Staying alert on the road

Getting eight hours of sleep is crucial if you drive regularly. Developing healthy sleep habits may reduce the risk of fatigued driving.

Avoiding alcoholic substances is also crucial since consumption of alcohol may increase sleepiness and result in impairment. Even prescription and over-the-counter medications may have the same effect, so it is wise to read the fine print and understand their side effects before taking them.

If you must take medicine that may cause drowsiness, it may be better to use public transportation instead of driving. This way, you do not have to fight off the effects while behind the wheel.