If there’s one health issue that most Americans readily admit to, it is fatigue. Some adults wear their lack of sleep as a badge of honor. They work overtime and run themselves ragged taking care of their families. They may brag about how they run on coffee fumes and micro-naps.
Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep has very serious health and safety implications. A lack of sleep can affect someone’s immune system, personality and cognitive ability. The negative impacts related to cognition and motor function are particularly concerning when individuals get behind the wheel. Due to necessity, ignorance or stubbornness, many people drive when they feel tired and have not gotten enough sleep.
Drowsy drivers are everywhere, according to self-reported data
Those who collect self-reported data to analyze human behavior expect that people will under-report certain actions perceived in a negative light even when the reporting process is anonymous. As such, the number of people willing to admit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they have fallen asleep at the wheel in the last month is horrifying.
One in 25 drivers has likely dozed off at the wheel in the last month at least once. Many people drive fatigued habitually and will have numerous instances of dozing off within 30 days. When someone falls asleep at the wheel, they can cause a crash that kills them or someone else. Drowsy drivers don’t need to drift off to sleep to cause a crash.
The longer someone goes without deep sleep, the more their fatigue affects their ability to drive. Increased reaction times, difficulty staying focused and poor decision-making are all consequences of fatigue at the wheel.
Tired drivers bring added risks
Unlike other dangerous driving habits, drowsy driving can be difficult to prove. However, some drivers will admit to it. Although drivers can’t prevent other people from driving while exhausted, they can recognize that getting behind the wheel when they can barely stay awake is a safety hazard and ask someone else to drive.
Learning more about the choices that can lead to a motor vehicle collision will help people avoid causing one and help victims of crashes better understand what happened to them. In the event that another’s negligence, recklessness or intentionally dangerous conduct caused their harm, they may be entitled to pursue compensation from that at-fault party.