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The dangers of drowsy driving: Why you shouldn't drive sleepy

Not everyone is susceptible to falling asleep at the wheel, but some of us are. In fact, you may have experienced the heavy-lidded feeling of not being able to keep your eyes open while navigating traffic -- perhaps during a long-distance nighttime drive. The thing is, even if you don't fall asleep, being drowsy is very dangerous as it can affect your ability to quickly react to traffic and control your car.

Here are a few things that drowsy driving will do to you:

  • Cause you to be less able to pay attention to traffic and the roadway
  • Slow down your reaction time when you steer or brake suddenly
  • Cause you to make bad decisions while driving your car

People who suffer from sleep disorders are often more prone to be drowsy behind the wheel. According to a study by the Institute of Medicine from 2005, approximately 70 million Americans have sleep problems at night. Just think of how many people that is on the road, trying to navigate traffic when they're not their most alert.

Approximately one out of 25 adults aged 18 and up report that they have fallen asleep while operating their vehicles within the last month. This astounding statistic shows you that at any given time, you are probably sharing the road with someone having a hard time staying awake. To make matters worse, when police pull someone over or report to a car accident scene, it's difficult for them to know if a driver is sleep-deprived, as there's no definitive test for sleep deprivation.

At the end of the day, a driver who causes an accident and injuries because he or she was fatigued will be at-fault and potentially liable for the damages that result from the collision. In this respect, people harmed by drowsy drivers may want to investigate the process of holding such at-fault drivers responsible for their negligence.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Drowsy Driving: Asleep at the Wheel," accessed April 20, 2018

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