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Drowsy driving: Why it happens and how to protect yourself

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2022 | Car Accidents |

Drowsiness affects many people who spend their time on the roads. They might have trouble sleeping for one of various reasons, but when they get behind the wheel, they put themselves and others in harm’s way.

Drowsy driving can lead to serious auto collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are around 100,000 crashes reported to the police annually that can be linked to drowsy driving.

What causes drowsy driving? It’s not just a lack of sleep

Drowsiness can be caused by many things. Someone not getting the recommended amount of sleep each night could be one issue. Another could be taking new medications or using over-the-counter drugs that cause drowsiness or fatigue. A third could be boredom or exhaustion from long hours behind the wheel.

Whatever the reason is for a person’s drowsiness, it has to be corrected as soon as possible. If someone chooses to drive when they’re tired, they are much more likely to get into a collision.

How can you protect yourself against drowsy driving and drowsy drivers?

To protect yourself against drowsy driving, you need to try to get the appropriate amount of sleep each night, usually 7 to 8 hours. If you’re still feeling tired, talk to your doctor about getting some medical tests to rule out other issues, like sleep apnea.

Then, monitor how you’re feeling while you drive. If you’re starting to feel tired or fatigued, ask yourself if it would be a good idea for you to pull over, get a coffee or try something else to wake up.

Although it might be frustrating, taking a 20- or 30-minute nap could help you become more alert, letting you drive safely to your destination. While you might want to push through to get where you’re going, the last thing you want is to nod off behind the wheel and end up causing a serious crash.

Hit by a drowsy driver? Remember that you can pursue compensation from them

If you’re hit by someone who fell asleep behind the wheel, you can take steps to hold them accountable. You may want to look into making a personal injury claim after you seek medical attention for your injuries.

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