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How does drowsy driving affect crash statistics?

When experts look at things that affect crash statistics, they look at different statistics related to the driver, such as health and age. They also look at outside factors, such as distractions and potentially intoxicating substances.

Among these potentially dangerous behaviors? Drowsy driving, i.e. the act of getting behind the wheel while physically or mentally exhausted.

Drowsiness and intoxication

The Sleep Foundation takes a look at the true negative impact of drowsy driving. First of all, drowsiness impacts the body and mind in a way similar to intoxication. Drowsy drivers will often suffer from delayed or slowed reaction times, an inability to detect danger, and trouble concentrating or focusing.

On top of that, drowsy drivers also suffer from the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. This increases the chance of severe or even deadly crashes by a fair margin, due to the fact that drivers cannot react to any dangers presented to them. They may drive off the side of the road, or even drift over the median on a highway and travel into oncoming traffic.

The speeds on a freeway

At the speeds one travels on the highway, any crash – especially a head-on collision – has the potential to cause life-long damage or fatalities. The statistics reflect this, showing the high number of hospitalizations and deaths associated with cars driving off the road or into oncoming traffic.

Unfortunately, drowsy driving still does not have the same stigma as other forms of dangerous driving behavior. This gives drivers a false sense of security, which can contribute even further to the problem of drivers hitting the road without getting enough sleep.


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