Drowsy driving can lead to severe or fatal collisions. Some may think it is largely a concern among truck drivers due to their shift schedules and driving durations, but the problem covers a broader demographic.
Studies show it relates more to sleeping habits and lifestyles than other factors. Drivers who sleep less at night tend to have higher crash risks.
In 2006, 51% of 552 teenage drivers admitted to at least one drowsy driving incident. A portion of 444,306 young adult drivers aged 18 and older also disclosed that they have less than seven hours of sleep daily.
The 2017 AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index determined that over 40% of a 2,613 sample of drivers usually sleep six or fewer hours on average every week. These alarming figures show that drowsy driving can happen to anyone, regardless of age and occupation.
The time of day and length of time driving also are not significant contributing factors. A quarter of confirmed drowsy drivers have reported nodding off in the afternoon. They also shared that they tend to feel sleepy on short drives, lasting around an hour or less.
Drowsy driving and other dangerous habits
Research also revealed that drowsy driving is widespread in drivers who exhibit other dangerous habits, such as incorrect use of seat belts and improper lane keeping. These problems usually arise from lifestyle factors, such as fatigue caused by sleep deprivation and other daily activities.
Still, authorities and researchers find it challenging to link collisions to drowsiness. Most drivers do not remember or cannot admit to falling asleep while driving before a crash.
From 2016 to 2018, sleepiness while driving caused over 52,000 injuries and 800 deaths annually. However, a more thorough assessment inferred a 6,000 annual fatality estimate based on other factors related to drowsy driving.
The only way to reduce these risks is by acknowledging your body’s condition, whether you feel tired or unwell. Refusing to drive when fatigued could save you and others from a car accident.