Drivers in California must share the road with all manners of other vehicles and people. This mix can be chaotic and sometimes damaging both to the driver in question as well as everyone sharing the road with them. But how dangerous is drowsy driving in particular? Does it put you at risk any more or less than other risky driving behaviors?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention take a close look at how dangerous drowsy driving can actually be. It ranks among the top dangerous driving behaviors, right alongside driving under the influence and driving while distracted. This is because drivers often suffer from similar issues, such as an inability to concentrate or problem solve and much slower reaction times.
Of course, the biggest danger related to drowsy driving involves falling asleep at the wheel. This completely takes away your ability to react to any dangers that may be coming your way. Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are more likely to get involved in complex, severe crashes as well, simply because they have no ability to mitigate the damage before it occurs.
Another big risk of drowsy driving is the fact that it is considered much more socially acceptable than driving under the influence, or even driving distracted. Many people drive without getting as much sleep as they should, and this is considered normal. Normalizing this behavior, unfortunately, makes people more likely to engage in it, which increases the number of drowsy drivers on the road, thus increasing the danger other drivers face as well.