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There is a lot to know about the dangers of drowsy driving

Even if you're familiar with the dangers of drowsy driving, it's still possible you could find yourself fatigued while behind the wheel. The same holds true of everyone else on the road, which is why this remains such a big problem throughout the country.

Drowsy driving typically happens when a person hasn't slept enough, but there are other things that can lead you down this path. Drowsiness impacts your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, such as by:

  • Affecting your ability to make the right decisions
  • Slowing your reaction time
  • Increasing the likelihood of losing your focus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in every 25 adult drivers reports that they have fallen asleep while driving during the last 30 days.

So, even if you're 100 percent alert when driving, there's a good chance that at least one person around you is too tired to be operating a motor vehicle.

Here are some groups of people who are more likely to drive when tired:

  • People who don't get enough sleep
  • People who take medication that causes drowsiness
  • People with an untreated sleep disorder
  • Shift workers, such as those who work through the night
  • Commercial truckers

The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to understand the warning signs. These include:

  • Drifting from your lane of travel
  • Blinking and yawning
  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Striking or almost striking objects on the road

If you find yourself dealing with one or more of these symptoms, pull to safety and assess your situation.

Here are three things you can do to prevent drowsy driving:

  • Get plenty of sleep before you drive, especially if you're taking a long trip
  • Obtain medical treatment if you have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea
  • Don't take medication or drink alcohol before driving

You can control your habits as a driver, so make it your goal to never drive when you're drowsy.

If another driver strikes your vehicle, such as someone who fell asleep at the wheel, call 911 for help and to receive transportation to a local hospital for treatment.

The responding officer can file a police report, making note of the cause of the crash. With this report and your personal knowledge of what happened, you can file an insurance claim. This is also a good time to take steps to hold the negligent driver responsible.

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