Many dangers exist on the road. Drowsy driving serves as just one of many under the umbrella of distracted driving.
However, drowsy driving poses some unique dangers that set it above some of the other forms of distraction.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention take a look into drowsy driving and its safety impact. One of the biggest and most unique risks that drowsy driving causes is that of microsleeping.
Microsleeping occurs in small bursts of 1 to 3 seconds. It involves the person completely falling asleep behind the wheel, rendering them incapable of responding to any encroaching dangers at all.
Many of the deadliest accidents happen when a driver falls asleep at the wheel. This includes crashes where a driver goes off the side of the road and ones where a driver crosses the meridian and goes into oncoming traffic.
An impact like intoxication
Even when a driver does not fall asleep completely, their faculties will end up greatly reduced by their lack of sleep.
In fact, when drowsy drivers get compared to intoxicated drivers, they actually have numerous similarities. This includes slowed reflexes, a lack of ability to spot or react to danger in time, delayed reactions and difficulty thinking clearly.
However, unlike intoxicated driving, it is impossible to test a driver for drowsiness. This is why driving drowsy is not illegal, though the things a drowsy driver may do will often end up counted among illegal actions regardless.
The lack of regulation ultimately means that even more people can hit the road while exhausted, increasing the danger for everyone else.