When Georgia drivers hit the road, they have to trust that every other driver cares about safety. Unfortunately, too many drivers think they are above the law by driving recklessly, drunk or become distracted. But there is also another type of dangerous driver out there: those who have been driving for too long without proper rest. Today, let’s look at how dangerous drowsy drivers really are.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at drowsy driving statistics. First, drowsy driving is more common than most people think. In a 30 day time period, 1 in 25 adult drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel at least once. Studies estimate that up to 6,000 fatal crashes a year are due to the actions of drowsy drivers.

Anyone can engage in drowsy driving behaviors. Some people are more at risk than others, though. People with untreated sleep disorders like apnea are more at risk. So are drivers who take medications with drowsiness as a side effect. Shift workers who work night hours or long shifts often drive drowsy. So do commercial vehicle drivers. It is a big problem within the trucking industry in particular. But anyone who has not had enough sleep is engaging in drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving is deadly for many reasons. These drivers are not capable of reacting to dangers in a quick and efficient way. If they are asleep, they are completely incapable of reacting to their surroundings. Drowsy drivers often drift into oncoming traffic, causing head-on crashes. This is one of the most deadly kinds. Any driver who spots signs of drowsy driving should keep a wide berth. This includes swerving, changing speeds without warning or drifting into other lanes.