When looking at microsleep, it is important to understand what it means in the specific context of driving.
Why is it so dangerous? What sort of unique problems can microsleeping cause in general?
How microsleep works
WebMD discusses the impact of microsleeping on driver safety. Microsleeping is the body’s natural reaction to intense levels of exhaustion. In essence, the body shuts down for a few seconds at a time, forcing a person unconscious or into a state of “rest”. Typically, this period lasts one to three seconds.
Of course, when driving, losing consciousness for even one second may cause a lot of damage. In fact, it only takes three seconds total for a driver to cover the length of a football field. In that time, they could easily end up crashing into someone or something else.
The worst crashes
Many of the most dangerous crashes involve a driver falling asleep behind the wheel. In particular, this tends to include incidents where a driver drove off the side of the road, or when they crossed the meridian and went into oncoming traffic.
The biggest risk is the fact that for those few seconds, a driver cannot react to any dangers around them at all. Thus, they often plow into the upcoming obstruction at full force, not having the time to slow down even a little.
Understanding the risks associated with drowsy driving is one way to stop these dangers from happening. The more people have an understanding of the fatal accidents that may occur, the fewer drivers will engage in these risky behaviors.