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How does microsleeping contribute to deadly crashes?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Drowsy driving has become a well-known potential risk for drivers everywhere. Along with the understanding of drowsiness and its dangers, more people have also learned about microsleeping.

What exactly is microsleeping? What makes it such a huge danger, and why is it behind so many deadly crashes?

What is microsleeping?

WebMD discusses microsleeping and how it contributes to crashes. First, it is important to understand what microsleep is.

This is the body’s way of attempting to get more sleep, even if it has to force a person into unconsciousness. When someone is particularly tired, this mechanic will likely kick in.

Microsleeping forces a person’s body into brief periods of unconsciousness or “sleep”, which tend to last anywhere from one to three seconds. These bursts of sleep will continue until a person can get proper sleep, in most cases. Wakefulness tips and tricks are essentially useless in these situations.

The big problem

Why is this an issue? Because it puts a person to sleep for a few seconds at a time, thus rendering them incapable of dealing with any potential dangers they may run across.

This is why many of the most dangerous crashes happen when the driver was asleep at the wheel. Examples include when cars drive off the side of the road or into oncoming traffic, which often both have high fatality rates.

Some people may think that losing consciousness for a few seconds at a time is not a big deal. However, a driver can cover the distance of a football field in 3 seconds when going 60 miles per hour. Thus, microsleeping is a huge risk for all.