Ohio drivers like you understand the dangers of distracted and drunk driving. You have likely seen endless campaigns discussing the risks that both present, and for good reason. But the umbrella of distracted driving behaviors extends far beyond texting while driving.

One common type of driver distraction is driving while drowsy. Many drivers, perhaps including yourself, do not even realize that this is a huge risk.

How does drowsiness affect you?

The Sleep Foundation looks at how drowsiness impacts drivers. Studies show that it affects the body in a similar way to alcohol. In fact, driving after being awake for 18 hours is equivalent to driving with a 0.08 percent BAC level. It may surprise you to know that experts estimate one in every six deadly crashes to happen because of drowsiness. On top of that, they also estimate that one in every eight incidents requiring hospitalization happens because of a drowsy driver.

Why is drowsy driving so prevalent?

Despite that, drowsy driving has a huge rate of occurrence. Over a quarter of drivers questioned in one study admitted to driving while “struggling to keep their eyes open” in the last month. 41 percent of the drivers queried also admitted to falling asleep while driving at least once. 10 percent admitted to doing so within the last year.

Many professionals attempt to discern why drowsy driving is so prevalent. Some speculate it is because of the workplace culture and fast pace of our society. Others attribute it to a normalization of dangerous behavior. Whatever the case, know that getting behind the wheel while drowsy can easily lead to a harmful crash.