Are you experiencing difficulties with drowsy driving?
Causes of Drowsy Driving
One of the most common causes of drowsy driving is simply not getting enough sleep. Many people underestimate the importance of a good night’s rest and fail to prioritize it in their daily routines. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, yet so many individuals fall short of this goal.
Conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, which causes interruptions in breathing during sleep, can result in daytime sleepiness and impaired cognitive function. Unfortunately, many people with sleep disorders go undiagnosed and untreated, exacerbating the risk of drowsy driving.
Another factor that contributes to drowsy driving is the influence of alcohol. Like alcohol, fatigue impairs judgment, reaction time, and cognitive function. Combining these two factors creates a dangerously potent cocktail for potential accidents.
The internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm, plays a significant role in drowsy driving. The human body has a natural tendency to feel drowsy during certain time periods, particularly during the late afternoon and late at night. These are the times when our bodies are programmed to rest, making it harder to stay alert on the road.
Why Drowsy Driving is Dangerous
One of the main reasons why drowsy driving is so dangerous is its effect on cognitive function and reaction time. When a person is sleep-deprived or excessively tired, their ability to concentrate, process information, and make split-second decisions is impaired. This means that they may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a collision or navigate unexpected situations on the road.
Studies have shown that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Both fatigue and alcohol impair a driver’s judgment and coordination, increasing the likelihood of errors and accidents.
Drowsy driving can lead to fatal crashes, especially on long stretches of highways or during nighttime when drowsiness can be more pronounced.
A fatigued driver may actually doze off, even if it’s just for a few seconds. These microsleep episodes can have catastrophic consequences. In those brief moments of unconsciousness, the driver loses control of the vehicle, putting themselves and others in immediate danger.
Signs That You Should Stop Driving and Rest
Who Is At Risk for Driving Drowsy?
Whether it’s a single driver taking a long road trip or an adult driver who did not get enough sleep the night before, anyone can be vulnerable to drowsy driving.
Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the U.S. legal limit. 
What May Help You Stay Alert
Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. If you are feeling excessively tired or are experiencing difficulty staying awake, it’s best to find a safe place to rest before continuing your journey.
Have you or a loved one been involved in an accident caused by a drowsy driver?
 Wilbanks, J. (2022, January 5). Prevent Drowsy Driving: Stay Awake at the Wheel! – Sleep Education. Sleep Education. https://sleepeducation.org/get-involved/campaigns/prevent-drowsy-driving-stay-awake-at-the-wheel/
 Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® – National Sleep Foundation. (2023, October 18). National Sleep Foundation. https://www.thensf.org/drowsy-driving-prevention/
 Fatigued Driving – National Safety Council. (n.d.). https://www.nsc.org/road/safety-topics/fatigued-driver