Over the years, more people have identified drowsy driving as a seriously dangerous aspect of dangerous driving behavior.
This has brought the term “microsleep” into the public’s awareness, too. But what exactly is microsleep?
WebMD discusses microsleeping and its related dangers, especially on the road. Generally speaking, microsleeping refers to falling asleep for a very short period of time, usually between one and three seconds long. The person will then wake back up, but will likely fall asleep for another few seconds over and over again.
This often lasts until the person can actually get to sleep because microsleeping is the body’s way of attempting to get to sleep when in need of rest. Unfortunately, there is no real way of stopping the body from microsleeping except to get a little bit of rest.
Why it is a danger
While a period of one to three seconds may not seem like a lot of time to fall asleep on the road, it is extremely dangerous, especially on the highway. When a driver travels at 60 miles per hour, they can cross a distance equivalent to the length of a football field in just 3 seconds.
Thus, drivers actually cover a lot of distance in just a short span of time, which is frightening to think about if that driver is asleep. Many of the most deadly drowsy driving crashes tend to involve people driving off the side of the road or into oncoming traffic. In most cases, this happens when a driver falls asleep.