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Spring motoring: Drowsiness leads to hazardous crashes

Why is drowsy driving so dangerous? It causes individuals to react slower. They may not see traffic slowing ahead of them or fail to notice a stopped vehicle. A drowsy driver might drift from one lane to another without noticing.

Drowsy driving causes serious accidents and deaths in Montana. Fortunately, there are signs of drowsy driving that you can recognize, so you don't get behind the wheel when you're too tired.

1. You don't remember driving for the last few miles or for the last few minutes

It's pretty common for drowsy drivers to daydream or begin to nod off. How do you know if you're too tired to drive? If you've noticed that time seems like it passed very suddenly without you being able to account for what you did during that time, you may have fallen asleep or not paid attention to the road. If you notice that you've forgotten what you were doing in the last few miles, pull over at the next exit. You should take a nap and recharge.

2. You are yawning often

Whether it's from boredom or from being tired, yawning is a sign that your brain isn't focused on the road ahead of you. It's wise to take a break if you notice that you're yawning often. Give yourself time to grab a coffee, take a nap or wake up in other ways. A quick break often helps break up the monotony of a long trip, which keeps your mind engaged.

3. You hit the rumble strip

If you hit the rumble strip, the likelihood is that you're not paying attention. Rumble strips are on the roads to alert drivers that they're close to the edge. That shocking vibration and noise is enough to wake some up, preventing serious fatal accidents. If you hit a rumble strip, it's time to ask yourself if you need a break. You might have just been distracted, or you could be drowsy. Either way, the rumble reminds you to get your eyes and focus back on the roads.

These are a few tips for recognizing if you're drowsy behind the wheel. If you find you're too tired to drive, it's okay to pull over and get some rest before you continue. It's safer than putting yourself and others in danger. If you see another vehicle weaving or going off the road, chances are that the driver is not paying attention due to drowsiness or other reasons. If that person hits you, then you have a right to pursue compensation.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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