Drowsy driving is a major problem that plagues roadway safety and gets many drivers into critical or even deadly crashes every year.
When it comes to truck drivers, these numbers look even direr. But what about drowsy truckers is such a danger?
Dangers of drowsy driving
CDC discusses the impact of drowsiness on truckers. Drowsiness impacts all drivers in the same way. Generally, it can interact with a person in a way similar to alcohol or other forms of intoxication.
Drivers who are drowsy may have delayed or slowed reaction times, trouble spotting dangers in time, or the inability to make decisions when necessary. Of course, there is also the risk of falling asleep at the wheel, which makes it entirely impossible for a driver to react to any potential dangers at all.
The true risk of drowsy truckers
The biggest issue with truckers in specific is not how drowsiness affects them, but the size of their vehicle. The average 18-wheeler truck weighs around 35,000 pounds when empty, and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. It is also usually 70 to 80 feet in length. This is much larger or heavier than just about any other vehicle on the road.
Of course, being so heavy and large means that a trucker has the potential to take out numerous lanes of traffic in one fell swoop. A trucker falling asleep at the wheel could easily involve several other drivers on either side of the road in the crash. Due to the size, these crashes often end up serious or even deadly for the other drivers, too.