Minnesota drivers like you take every step you can to keep yourself safe on the road. Unfortunately, not every driver does the same. It is often hard to pinpoint which drivers are engaging in dangerous behaviors. This is especially true for drowsy drivers.

But drowsy drivers pose one of the biggest distracted driving risks on the road. If you cross paths with one, you may find yourself getting involved in a crash.

Who falls asleep at the wheel?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention take a close look at statistics related to drowsy driving. First, they ask who is the most at risk. A study showed that 1 in 25 drivers over 18 admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in a period of 30 days. This shows that age is not as much of a factor as previously thought. Rather, sleep length and quality have the biggest direct impact. Drivers with sleep disorders are at the highest risk, followed by those who get fewer than 6 hours of sleep.

Who do drowsy drivers harm?

Unfortunately, drowsy drivers do not only put themselves at risk by getting behind the wheel. As with any other distracted driving behavior, they put everyone else on the road at risk, too. An estimated 6,000 fatal accidents happen per year due to drowsy driving alone. Meanwhile, around 83,000 drowsy driving crashes happen in total. Many result in severe injury.

You may have trouble identifying signs of a drowsy driver. If you can, give a wide berth to any driver who swerves, wobbles or stops without warning. Keep an eye out for fluctuating speeds, too. Distancing yourself quickly may keep you from getting involved in a crash.