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Why do people drive drowsy?

New Jersey drivers like you may have driven while feeling a little sleepy before. Did you know that this could count as drowsy driving? Or that drowsy driving in general makes up 6,000 fatalities a year?

Drowsy driving is also one of the most common types of distracted driving behavior. Why is that the case? Why are so many people driving while drowsy?

What is drowsy driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examines drowsy driving as a common phenomena. To drive drowsy, a driver needs only to get six hours of sleep a night or less. Because of the loose definition, many people end up driving drowsy for many reasons.

It might be health-related. There are many disorders that prevent you from sleeping well through the night. Some are physical, like diabetes or restless leg syndrome. Others are mental, like anxiety or depression.

Of course, there are disorders related to sleep, too. You may suffer from insomnia or a circadian rhythm disorder. Perhaps you have sleep apnea or narcolepsy. Any of these disorders can make it hard or even impossible for you to sleep soundly through the night.

External causes of sleep deprivation

Sometimes, the cause is external. Shift workers in particular tend to suffer from drowsiness. You might work the graveyard shift, having to switch your entire schedule backwards. You may work long shift hours, working ten to twelve hours at a time. You may be a student cramming for an important exam, pulling all-nighters.

Despite the varied reasons, the end result is the same for everyone. You suffer from an increased chance of getting into a crash due to sleep deprivation.