While it is almost universally agreed that distracted driving is one of the most hazardous activities, drivers who are fatigued when they get behind the wheel can be just as dangerous. Fatigued or drowsy driving can lead to momentary lapses in attention, judgement problems and challenges in perception. Not only might these drivers lose sight of the road when yawning, but they could literally fall asleep and drift into oncoming traffic.
Unfortunately, many drivers believe in numerous fallacies that prevent them from recognizing the danger they bring to the roadways. Whether it is busy city streets, wide open county roads or high-speed highways, drivers must recognize certain myths and work against them.
- Myth #1: Coffee, soda or energy drinks can overcome drowsiness. These types of stimulants can only help a driver’s attention for a short time. Drivers will soon experience a “sugar crash” and might even fall victim to “micro sleeps” – unintentional four- or five-second naps.
- Myth #2: I’m experienced enough and safe enough driver to overcome drowsiness. This is an example of unfounded confidence. While experienced drivers might be able to recognize and avoid many obstacles on the road, the only true way to counteract fatigue is through sleep.
- Myth #3: I can’t take naps so I’ll get home quickly and go to sleep. Even if you believe you cannot take a nap, it is wise to pull into a rest stop, lean your seat back and close your eyes.
- Myth #4: I can tell when I’m about to fall asleep, so I’ll pull over. There is no research that backs up this claim. In almost all cases, individuals have no idea when they are about to fall asleep.
Drowsy drivers can present a dangerous obstacle on the roads. From drifting into oncoming lanes to failing to recognized stopped traffic in front of them, these mistakes in attention can lead to deadly collisions. If you were injured by a fatigued driver, it is wise to seek guidance about your options for monetary compensation.