Reasons That Driving Fatigue Causes So Many Accidents
It has happened to every driver at least once before. It’s been a long day, and you’re holding on for dear life. You’re just dreaming of hitting that pillow when you get home.
You think to yourself that you can make it through this drive home. You hop in the car and go, not even giving it a second thought. Luckily for you, you were able to make it home.
However, for some who made this decision, that was their last night driving. 20% of fatal crashes have involved driver fatigue, and 30% of single-car crashes were due to fatigue.
Here is a quick guide to understanding the reasons for driving fatigue and how to prevent it.
Causes of Driving Fatigue
Much like drowsiness in operating any other machinery, driving fatigue happens when someone has not gotten enough sleep due to a litany of factors.
These can include being awake for extended periods of time during the day, not getting sleep over the course of several days, as well as driving cutting into the time of your sleep cycle.
But it can also be affected by your work, especially if you do tasks that seem monotonous. Long periods of inactivity during a day can affect your fatigue as well as health factors like sleeping disorders or the types of medications you take before driving.
Effects of Driving Fatigue
The effects can be more obvious to those around you, but they include:
- Dozing off while on the road
- Delayed reaction time to road conditions (this includes other drivers on the road and neglecting to watch for pedestrians)
- Drifting in and out of your lane
- Taking quick “microsleeps,” which are defined as bits of sleep that last for less than a second
- Driving and forgetting how long you drove
- Losing a sense of what’s going on around you, otherwise known as tunnel vision
If you experience any of these, you should pull over immediately.
Who’s at Risk of Driving Fatigue?
To better understand the factors of this issue and actively participate in driving fatigue prevention, you should also understand who’s at risk.
The groups with the highest risk of experiencing driving fatigue are young drivers, workers who do long shifts, and those with sleep disorders or are on debilitating medications.
Young drivers are often at risk for many potential dangers when it comes to driving due to their relative inexperience on the road. They often will make uncompromisingly bad decisions because they do not know the ramifications of their decisions.
Shift workers work long hours, and this makes them more susceptible to being tired. The same goes for people who suffer from long-distance driving fatigue, people with sleeping disorders, and those who take medication. Medications can induce drowsiness and make them more susceptible.
Avoid Driving Fatigue
Driving fatigue can end tragically for all involved. You can avoid this by practicing safe driving habits. Do not drive during your sleep cycle or when you feel tired.
The next time you feel drowsy, and you are going to drive, choose not to. It might just save your life and someone else’s.
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