Drowsiness, whether it’s daytime drowsiness or drowsiness at night, is a real risk to yourself and others who may be on the roads. Up to 60% of adult drivers reported being drowsy while driving in the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, and a 2021 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that around 1 of 25 adults over the age of 18 had fallen asleep behind the wheel within the last 30 days.
Knowing these statistics, it is scary to think about how many people may be on the roads right now when they’re not fully awake. Why is drowsiness so bad, though?
Drowsiness could kill by changing how you react behind the wheel
Drowsiness has a few serious side effects that could put you or others in danger. They include:
- Slowing down your reaction time, so you can’t respond to actions around you as quickly as you would if you were awake.
- Making you less attentive as you focus on trying to stay awake.
- Negatively impacting your ability to make good decisions while behind the wheel.
Knowing that drowsiness could put you at risk for a crash, you should know that there are a few things you can do to stay safe. Some options that may help include:
- Pulling over and taking a 15-to-20-minute nap.
- Getting more sleep. As an adult, you could get at least seven hours of sleep each day.
- Getting treatment for any sleep disorders or medical conditions that affect your sleep.
- Avoiding driving when you’ve taken medications that may make you tired.
- Avoiding alcohol before driving, since it can make some people tired.
These and other options can help you be a safer driver by making sure you’re well-rested.
Get the help you need if you’re hit by a drowsy driver
Drowsy driving puts lives at risk. You need to do everything you can to avoid being drowsy when you’re behind the wheel and to report dangerous drivers who may be drowsy or falling asleep behind theirs.
If you’re injured in an auto accident, you may have the right to make a claim against the at-fault driver.