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What happens when you drive drowsy?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

New Jersey drivers like you do what you can to keep yourself safe on the road. This means following traffic laws, driving in a clear state of mind and keeping an eye out for dangers. Unfortunately, no matter how well you protect yourself, you cannot predict the actions of others. 

Drowsy drivers are one of the unpredictable hurdles you may come across. There are too many on the road and each one poses a significant threat to everyone they share the road with. 

Effects of sleep deprivation on driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examine what happens to a driver who hits the road without getting enough sleep. Depending on the level of sleep deprivation, drowsy drivers actually behave similarly to people driving under the influence. In other words, DUI and drowsy driving are on the same level. 

When a driver hits the road drowsy, they will likely experience several effects. This includes: 

  • Trouble concentrating and focusing 
  • Trouble predicting dangers 
  • Slowed reaction times and thinking 
  • Delayed problem solving 

Rear-end crashes and microsleep

Drowsiness takes away your ability to think in a quick and clear way. This makes it hard to make snap decisions or notice last-minute dangers. Both of these tasks are crucial for safe driving. This is also why many drowsy drivers end up in rear-end collisions. It is hard for them to notice a stopped car and just as difficult to stop their own vehicle in time. 

Drowsy drivers also experience microsleep, which involves nodding off for seconds at a time. Unfortunately, a few seconds is all you need to get involved in a nasty crash. This is why drowsy driving is so risky.