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Drowsy driving is a threat to all people on the roads

It's no joke when someone falls asleep behind the wheel of their vehicle. Whether they're driving a semitruck or are in a small personal vehicle, they pose a real danger to themselves and others.

Drowsy driving causes a few issues. When a person is drowsy, they're:

  • Less able to make good decisions
  • Unable to react as quickly as if they could if they were awake
  • Less able to pay attention to the road and their surroundings

Falling asleep at the wheel is more common than you may think. Did you know that around 1 in 25 adults reported that they had fallen asleep while driving in the last 30 days? It's believed that up to 6,000 fatal crashes could be a result of drowsy drivers' actions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that around 800 deaths were caused by drowsy driving in 2013, but that total is likely much higher.

Are there some people who are more likely to drive while drowsy?

People who are more likely to drive drowsy include:

  • People who work night shifts or long shifts, like doctors or overnight stock workers
  • Drivers who have untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
  • People who use sleep medications
  • People taking medications that could make them drowsy
  • Drivers who did not get enough sleep before driving
  • Commercial drivers, who may have long shifts

To help prevent collisions, it's helpful if anyone who drives knows to pull over and park if they are getting too tired to drive. Even a 20- to 30-minute nap could make a huge difference in your safety and well-being. If you notice that you're drifting in and out of your lane, have hit a rumble strip, missed your exit, can't remember the last several miles or are yawning excessively, it's time to take a break from driving.

You need at least seven hours of sleep, on average, if you are an adult. Teens need at least eight hours of sleep to be fully rested. If you will be driving in the morning, make sure you get enough sleep. Try to stick with a good sleep schedule, and talk to your doctor if you're not sleeping well. Taking these easy steps can help you prevent a drowsy driving crash. If you do end up in a collision with a drowsy driver, they may be held responsible for any damages or injuries that they cause to you or others.

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