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How does drowsy driving affect truckers?

Drowsy driving is an issue that affects all drivers, regardless of age, driving experience or what car you drive. But many studies focus on drowsy truckers in specific. Why? For the simple fact that drowsy truckers can cause a lot more damage if they get involved in a crash. 

But just how does drowsiness affect truckers? How does drowsy driving impact their ability to stay safe on the road? And what does that mean for everyone else? 

Symptoms of drowsy drivers

The Sleep Foundation examines how drowsiness affects all drivers. It actually impacts the body and mind in a way similar to substance use. Drowsy drivers often exhibit similar symptoms to intoxicated drivers, too. For example, drowsy drivers: 

  • Cannot react quickly to danger 
  • Fail to notice risky situations 
  • Have slow reflexes 
  • Often get distracted 
  • Cannot focus 

On top of that, they risk falling asleep at the wheel or experiencing something called “microsleep”. This involves falling asleep for 1 to 3 seconds and waking up again. However, in those few seconds, it is possible for a driver to get involved in a crash. This is especially true on the highway. 

Why do truckers pose such risk?

Note that most truckers spend the majority of their time on the road on highways. This means they travel long distances at fast speeds. Just 3 seconds of sleep can give them enough time to travel the length of a football field. Needless to say, this creates a huge crash risk danger. On top of that, the large size and weight of trucks puts other vehicles at high risk in a crash. For these reasons, drowsy truckers pose a greater danger than drivers of other vehicles. 


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