Everyday, there are motorists on the roads operating on too little sleep. When a driver is drowsy, they put themselves and all other drivers in danger. Falling asleep at the wheel causes a car to drift into other lanes, onto shoulders or even into buildings. Besides falling asleep, drowsy drivers pose many other risks. These drivers are not as aware of what is going on around them, have a slower reaction time than normal, and tend to be more aggressive towards other drivers.
When a driver is unaware of their surroundings, their guard is down and they cannot prevent an accident as readily. Alert drivers are trained to keep an eye out in all directions for potential dangers. A sleepy driver is not as likely to notice these dangers and therefore may not be able to avoid them before an accident happens.
Having a quick reaction time is a key component to safe driving. When a driver is drowsy, this reaction time is much slower than usual. This makes it nearly impossible to avoid certain dangers in the road. If a car cuts in front of a driver, being able to apply the breaks quickly is necessary to avoid a collision. A driver operating on too little sleep may not have the ability to react quickly enough.
Nearly everyone’s temper is shorter when they have not had enough sleep. A quick temper and aggressive driving could cause an accident. Aggression can cause a driver to cut people off, chase a driver who cut them off, or take other unnecessary risks.
If possible, two drivers should travel together on a long trip. That way they can take turns driving if one or the other is too drowsy to drive. A driver traveling alone who has had too little sleep should not be on the road at all. If a sleepy driver thinks they will be okay to drive, but then finds that they are nodding off, they need to find a place to pull over. Stopping at a hotel for the night and starting over in the morning may cost some money and time, but it may very well save someone’s life.