Behind the wheel, drivers who feel tired are especially likely to cause a crash. Drivers become drowsy for various reasons, from certain medications to sleep disorders and a single night of poor sleep. Sometimes, drivers struggling with fatigue try to drink coffee or use some other strategy to stay alert. Unfortunately, these techniques do not always help, and some drivers who feel tired cause serious accidents.
In fact, fatigue can cause a driver to fall asleep briefly. Also known as microsleep, these short periods of sleep can result in a devastating collision.
An overview of microsleep
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published information on drowsy driving and microsleep. According to the NHTSA, drivers who suffer from significant sleep deprivation could experience microsleep, regardless of whether they drink coffee or take other measures to stay alert. During a microsleep session, a driver could fall asleep for as little as five seconds. However, while operating a vehicle, this short period of sleep could result in a tragic collision. In fact, someone driving 100 miles per hour travels farther than the length of a 100-yard football field during this period of time.
Sometimes, drivers have a false sense of alertness and unexpectedly doze off for a few seconds, which could cause them to collide with another vehicle, a bicyclist or a pedestrian.
Recovering from a drowsy driving crash
When a drowsy driver causes a collision, pinpointing fatigue can prove challenging. This highlights the importance of gathering as much evidence as possible after a motor vehicle crash. Whether a driver causes an accident due to microsleep, poor vehicle control or any other factor related to drowsiness, they must answer for the consequences of the crash.