How can sleep deprivation impact your driving?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2021 | Car Accidents

There’s a constant conversation around safe driving habits that are drilled into Pennsylvania residents. While everyone knows the dangers of drinking and driving, no one really talks about the dangers of driving on little sleep.

New studies suggest that driving while tired or sleep deprived can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. Sleep deprivation made drivers less alert and also impacted their response times, leading to more crashes.

What changes when you’re sleep deprived?

Not getting enough sleep can impact many aspects of how a driver responds to things. Attention and response time are some of the biggest areas impacted by sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation also impacts other areas of our cognitive function, such as the ability to recall things. There are many rules that go into operating a vehicle, most of which we’re expected to recall instantly.

The information that might be harder for us to recall would be the information we don’t use every day. When it comes to driving, this can be things like what ways to turn the steering wheel if you hit an icy patch or how soon to break when you see the brake lights on another car.

We might be okay operating on autopilot driving to work, but our ability to react to the unexpected is what really keeps us safe. When we’re sleep-deprived, that ability is severely impacted.

What happens if you get into an accident while sleep-deprived?

If you get into an accident while sleep-deprived, then you’re more likely to get severely injured or injure someone else. It’s also possible that you’ll be fined or face certain punishments if the accident is your fault.

It’s important to give yourself enough time to wake up in the mornings and let yourself get enough sleep at night. Getting a full night’s sleep will help keep you alert while driving.