Does sleep deprivation impact your driving?

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Many factors go into determining the overall safety of your driving habits. This includes external factors like the distractions you face or the terrain you drive on. It can also include internal factors, such as the amount of sleep you get before hitting the road.

Sleep deprivation and other forms of sleep disorders can and do impact driver safety, but in what ways?

Intoxicated vs. sleep-deprived driving

Sleep Foundation takes a look at how sleep deprivation affects your driving. Surprisingly, the effect of drowsiness on drivers parallels the impact that intoxicating substances may have. Drunk and drowsy drivers thus share more similarities than many would initially consider. This can include:

  • An inability to focus or concentrate on the task at hand
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Trouble spotting danger in advance
  • Blurred vision

Risks related to sleep deprivation

In both cases, you also risk falling asleep or passing out at the wheel. This may only last for seconds at a time, but a few seconds is all you need to get into a serious crash. You have no ability to react to your surroundings in situations where you experience unconsciousness. Many rear-end collisions happen due to drivers falling asleep. Driver unconsciousness also holds great responsibility for crashes that involve a driver veering off the side of the road or into oncoming traffic.

Of course, the more exhausted you are, the higher your chances of suffering from these issues will grow. On top of that, understand that wakefulness tricks do not work, either. The only cure for sleep deprivation is to get more sleep, and your driving will not be safe until then.