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Understanding just how risky drowsy driving can be

Drowsy driving has been described as being just as potentially deadly as operating a car while intoxicated. Both may impair a driver's ability to think, make them less attentive, and decrease their responsiveness. Really bad consequences can occur if a motorists falls asleep while driving their car.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they estimate that as many as 100,000 crashes each year are caused by drowsy driving. As many as 1,500 people die in these crashes each year. Over 70,000 others suffer nonlife-threatening injuries in these types of collisions. It's estimated that drowsy driving crashes result in annual medical costs of as much as $12.5 billion dollars for victims.

In analyzing data for these types of crashes over the years, researchers have been able to hone in on certain factors that seem to contribute to higher drowsy driving accident rates.

For one, they've noted that male teenagers or those in the 20s and 30s are most likely to become involved in this type of crash. They've also determined that these types of collisions are most apt to occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., the time frame within which our bodies are conditioned to want to go to sleep.

The group with the second highest likelihood of becoming involved in drowsy driving crashes are seniors. They're likely to be involved in these types of collisions in the middle of the afternoon.

Others who often fall asleep behind the wheel are those who work shifts or on medications that can make one drowsy. Those who work shifts, and those who have undiagnosed sleep disorders are at risk for becoming involved in drowsy driving accidents also.

Among the many preventative measures that motorists can take to avoid becoming involved in a drowsy driving crash, one effective approach is having someone accompany you on the road to either chat with or fill in for you if you need to rest. Ensuring that you get a full night's worth of sleep is also important as is avoiding operating a vehicle the later it gets at night.

Most sleep experts warn that caffeine should only be consumed as a short-term solution for fatigue. They argue that naps are far better than caffeine though.

If you've been seriously injured by a suspected drowsy motorist, then a Moultrie car accidents attorney can advise you of your rights in your case.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, "Drowsy Driving," accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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