According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 775 people died in 2018 due to drowsy driving. It was a factor in around 2% of fatal crashes and approximately 2% again in crashes involving injuries that required a hospital visit.
Tiredness at the wheel is a widespread problem, and while it might bring to mind images of long-haul truckers, it is just as relevant to people who don’t drive for a living. Everyone gets tired at some point. Almost everyone gets insufficient sleep at some point. Yet how many people ever stop to consider if they are too tired to drive?
You do not need to be exhausted for fatigue to affect your driving
Clearly, no one should drive when they cannot keep their eyes open. Yet what about when you are feeling just a little sleepy? Think about letting out a yawn – your eyes will shut momentarily as you do it. Closed eyes cannot see the road.
Consider sitting at your desk on a Monday morning after a busy weekend. You might struggle to get your brain in gear, perhaps staring blankly at the pile of work on your desk. So you go off to grab a coffee in the hope it will wake you up. Now, imagine how being in that same state would affect your driving.
Driving safely requires quick decisions making and rapid responses. It requires you to take in everything around you and process it fast. You can’t do that when you are feeling sleepy.
Too many people think they are OK to drive when in reality, they are too tired to be in charge of a vehicle with the potential to maim or kill people. If one of them injures you in a crash, seek legal help to hold them responsible.