Drowsy driving ranks as one of the most dangerous and yet unknown and underappreciated risks that anyone can face on the road.
It is important to understand what causes drowsy driving in order to avoid it, thus reducing the risks that all drivers may face.
Acute vs. chronic sleep deprivation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discuss the impact of drowsiness on drivers. First of all, drowsy drivers will often suffer from a lack of sleep, either acutely or chronically.
Acute lack of sleep means that the driver simply did not get enough sleep in the night leading up to their drive. For example, they may have been up during the night working, studying, socializing, or simply having a rough bout of insomnia.
On the other hand, chronic lack of sleep often stems from lifestyles or sleep health issues. The people who suffer from chronic exhaustion the most are usually people who work unusual shifts like graveyard shifts regularly or people who suffer from sleep apnea, insomnia, or other forms of sleep disorders.
How to fix these issues
Acute sleep deprivation is the easiest to fix, as it has no underlying complex issues in most cases. A driver should get more sleep before they drive, even if it means putting off driving for a few hours to get a little more rest.
Chronic sleep issues, on the other hand, often involve health intervention of some sort. The underlying cause should get treatment, whether that is a health issue causing chronic exhaustion or an untreated sleep disorder.
By fixing these issues, drivers can hit the road without fear of falling asleep behind the wheel.